Honorary Consulate of Finland for the north-west of England
Introducing John Gibson, Honorary Consul of Finland in Liverpool
Mr John Gibson was appointed as an Honorary Consul of Finland in Liverpool in 2012. His area covers Merseyside, Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man.
Tasks of an honorary consul
1. Within the scope of a specific geographical area, an honorary consul monitors the rights of Finns and foreigners permanently residing in Finland.
2. He or she provides advice and guidance for distressed Finnish citizens and foreigners permanently residing in Finland who are temporarily abroad, assisting them in their contacts with local authorities or the nearest Finnish embassy or consulate. Certain types of notarized certificates can be acquired through an honorary consul.
3. Honorary consuls do not accept passport applications nor do they handle matters pertaining to visas or residence permits. Honorary consuls cannot serve as attorneys in judicial proceedings or as legal advisers.
4. Together with diplomatic missions, an honorary consul promotes economic and cultural relations between Finland and the country in question, and takes part in strengthening Finland’s image abroad. An honorary consul can advise Finnish companies, for instance, in obtaining information about local business culture and in finding cooperation partners.
5. The honorary consulates augment Finland’s network of diplomatic missions, made up of embassies, consulate generals, consulates and other liaison offices. An honorary consulate is headed by an honorary consul. Honorary consuls are private individuals who take care of their tasks on a part-time basis.
Honorary Consul John Gibson
Mr Gibson has Masters degrees in Law, Arts and Education and has previously worked as a barrister plus he is a notary public of England. In his free time Mr Gibson enjoys learning Finnish and jogging. His main objectives as an Honorary Consul are maintaining contacts with the Finnish community, enhancing Finland’s country image and promoting Finnish exports and investments. Mr Gibson kindly answered our six questions:
1. How did you end up as an Honorary Consul for Finland?
Working with law firms, businesses and other concerns in Finland (and visiting Finland on holiday) led me to applying to become an Honorary Consul when the previous Liverpool Honorary Consul retired.
2. What do you enjoy most in your role as an Honorary Consul?
The way I can help Finns who need my assistance is the most attractive part of the job.
3. What is Finland known for in your area?
4. What do you wish people in your area knew more about Finland?
What a wonderful place it is to visit on holiday and how good it is to do business with Finns.
5. What does your area have to offer for Finns or Finnish companies?
Huge shipping resources, excellent leisure facilities and sporting activities i.e. watching Liverpool Football Club.
6. What is your favourite Finnish word or expression? Why?
Sisu - since it summons up the approach to life that I most admire in Finns.
Finland has about 400 honorary consulates around the world, of which 20 in the United Kingdom. Honorary Consuls promote economic, political, academic and cultural relations between Finland and the UK, and monitor the rights of Finnish citizens in their sphere of operation. They can for example guide and assist in contacts with the local authorities or the embassy. However, their possibilities to provide assistance are limited, nor for instance can they grant a passport.