“People think of a Consulate General as a general store. They walk in and expect you to have everything they need,” Trond S. Jensen says in jest. He knows that many people rely on the Honorary Consulate General in Miami for several different services.
These include assisting people with visa applications and passports, helping Norwegians wanting to settle in Florida, aiding (where they can) Norwegians having committed various misdemeanors, and providing support in more serious situations. Jensen states that the latter category is what the Honorary Consulate General prioritizes the highest when they arise. This includes imprisonment, illness and deaths.
Issues like these are also being handled by four other very competent representatives of Norway in Florida: Honorary Consul Leif Griffin and Honorary Vice Consul Beate Jakobsen, both also in Miami, Honorary Consul George D. Gabel in Jacksonville and Honorary Consul Arthur R. Savage in Tampa.
Jensen is spearheading a proposed initiative aimed at bringing together all the Nordic Honorary Consulates in Florida in a joint “Nordic House”. This is an extension of the already well-established tradition of cooperation between the Nordic countries abroad, working closely on administrative and consular matters in their foreign service.
The Honorary Consul General here shown in front of the Royal Norwegian crest. Photo: Jostein MykletunWorking in Miami
“Miami can without a doubt be called the Latin American capital of the world,” Jensen proclaims. He goes on: “It’s an incredibly diverse and exciting city to live in. One often talks of New York City as a melting pot for people of various cultures. In Miami it’s more like a tossed salad. Different identities and cultural nuances are more visible as a lot of first generation immigrants come here. Miami is therefore in a constant flux, and things can change very fast.” This might be one of the reasons Miami is home to some 70 diplomatic stations, divided more or less evenly between honorary consulates and career missions.
Besides working for the establishment of a “Nordic House” in Florida, the Honorary Consul General is also interested in charting a more detailed account of the Norwegian interests located in Florida. These include all Norwegian and Norwegian-American companies in the Sunshine State. He would like to seek out these interests and engage them to a larger extent than what has been done before.
The Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Miami
Jensen is also working continuously with the Norwegian Seamen’s Church. “The relationship we have with the Seamen’s Church is excellent, we cooperate closely on several matters”, he happily affirms. One important area of collaboration has been the emergency preparedness plan for Florida. “This is a cooperation between ourselves, the Seamen’s Church in Miami and the Norwegian Seafarers' Union. We take this work very seriously, as we all know that Florida is a hurricane-prone state.”
At the moment the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Miami is constructing a new Scandinavian Church and Center, scheduled for completion this fall. The Church & Center will be named Sjømannskirken, Kronprinsesse Mette-Marits kirke, in honor of Norwegian Crown Princess Mette-Marit. This is designed to be a one-of-a-kind Scandinavian Church and Center. The new center will be a house of worship as well as a community center. Whether you are a visitor, resident or company the center is meant to be an ideal meeting place and “home away from home” for the Scandinavian community. Jensen is a vital part of the project and fundraising committees for the new center. He is happy to report that more than half of the $1.6 million local fundraising goal has been raised to date; however, there is still much work to be done.
To learn more about the Scandinavian Church & Center’s fundraising opportunities, please visit their website.
In addition to being Honorary Consul General for Norway Jensen is one of the principal stockholders in the agricultural company Chestnut Hill Farms. Specializing in pineapple production, the company is the third largest in the world, outmatched only by Delmonte and Dole.
Whether you are looking for visas, passports or pineapples, Trond S. Jensen is at your service in Florida.