His Excellency: Nelson Valencia Garcia, Honduran Ambassador to Kuwait

His Excellency: Nelson Valencia Garcia, Honduran Ambassador to Kuwait
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Your Excellency, tell us please how you became a diplomat?
I began my career at the age of 24, driven by the wish to serve my nation in the diplomacy world. I was raised in a family with strong patriotic values. My father and elder brother served in the armed forces but I decided to serve my country in a different way. Diplomacy offered me a rich cultural growth and greater interaction with people around the world.

What is the work of an Ambassador? Can you briefly tell us more about your main responsibilities?
As Ambassador of Honduras, my biggest and most important role is to represent my country by strengthening relationships. It is my commitment to guide through the path of a true political, economic and cultural development.

Please describe your country and its business sectors.
Honduras is a geologically blessed country in the heart of Central America that has access to oceans allowing transit and commercialization of goods to Europe and Asia. The country’s opening policy to foreign trade, through an ample network in trade agreements, has allowed the country to sustain an economic growth model that has exports of goods and services as one of its pillars.
Honduras now has a growth and development strategy based on investment and employment. The country is focused on enhancing the strengths and the opportunities that we have as a nation.

How would you describe the Honduras-Kuwait relationship in three words?
Fraternal, supportive and strong.

You have been meeting lots of people and visiting different places. What are the main differences and the main similarities between the two cultures?
One of the main similarities I have found while serving my country in Kuwait, is about family. The family in both countries still remains the nucleus of society and the relationships inside the family are very similar. The differences are mainly cultural, specifically those attached to our roots that define each country particularly.

How close are the business and cultural relations between Honduras and Kuwait?
There is a niche for Honduran agricultural products in Kuwait. This has recently started to be exploited. We are looking forward to the continued promotion and establishment of solid ties with Kuwaiti companies and to have a bigger presence in the market. Part of our aim is to strengthen the economic and cultural ties with Kuwait. Agreements in economic co-operation and other areas have been signed but others are yet to be signed in order to foster cultural and economic relations between both countries.

What opportunities exist for Kuwaiti businesses wanting to explore the Honduras market? What are its main sectors?
Honduras 20/20 – The National Program of Economic Development Honduras 20/20 – a Public-Private Partnership that drives six productive sectors of the country (textile and apparel, outsourcing services, light manufacturing, tourism, social housing, and agribusiness) that will generate more than six hundred thousand jobs in the next five years. Every day, more entrepreneurs and local and international investors approach Honduras 20/20 with a strong interest in expanding or developing new investments and taking advantage of doing business from Honduras with the world.
Employment and Economic Development Zones (ZEDE’s) which contemplate the establishment of special production zones with international investment for the processing of goods on a large-scale, with specialized courts to settle disputes between economic agents.

What do you hope to achieve during your role as Ambassador over the next few years?
Since the opening of the Embassy in 2014, our job has been to lay the grounds for strong friendly relations in order to develop an integral system that mutually benefits the development of the relations between Honduras and Kuwait. The promotion and establishment of solid commercial ties is one of the objectives for the upcoming years.

What are the key projects on which Honduras stands alongside Kuwait today?
Honduras has a similar stand to Kuwait when it comes to situations in the international agenda. These positions are consolidated in the International Organizations where they mutually support each other and stand together on international matters.

How can Honduras attract more tourists from Kuwait?
One thing the Embassy has been developing is the promotion of our culture, values and traditions. There is a diversity of touristic attractions such as archaeological parks and sites, living cultures, beaches, diving, nature sites, colonial architecture, water parks, and various destinations for engaging in extreme sports including canopy (zip lining), rafting and hiking. One of the main tourist attractions are the Copan Ruins, the cradle of ancient Maya civilization, declared by UNESCO as World Heritage. The country also has several nature reserves for ecotourism, including 112 protected areas that account for 25% of the national territory, as well as more than 750km of glorious beaches on the Atlantic, considered some of the best in the world. Islas de la Bahía (Bay Islands), off the North coast of Honduras, boasts the second most important coral reef in the world and the most important in America. This makes it an ideal place for diving, boating and fishing. These islands have been rated as the best place to observe whale sharks and one of the top five destinations for diving.

What is so special about the culture and heritage of Honduras?
The people of Honduras play a big role in this and it is probably one of the biggest assets of our country. The ancient Mayan Ruins of Copan, for example, represent an important era of the Maya civilization that spread from south of Mexico to Honduras and El Salvador, making Copan the ‘Paris’ of the Mayan civilization due to its advancement in astrology and astronomy studies. Also the Government of the Republic of Honduras, in collaboration with National Geographic, recently discovered one of the most ancient ruins of a civilization which, until now, had only been a legend known as the City of the Monkey God or White City. This was on records for past centuries but had not been discovered due to the densely populated jungle.

Do you have a special message for the Honduras community in Kuwait?
The Honduras community is a small community, but a community with a big heart. My message to them is to enjoy their stay in Kuwait and promote the values and traditions of our culture.

Tell us about your favourite places in Kuwait and what you like most in the city.
I have enjoyed the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre and the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre. Their architecture is formidable and helps expand the cultural knowledge of the citizens through art, history and music. Diwaniyas are a good example of freedom of speech in Kuwait as well as an opportunity to expand the knowledge about the traditions and customs of the country.

Kuwait is known to be the Global Cultural District. How have you been enjoying whatever free time you have?
The National Cultural District shares its majesty alongside the biggest cultural centres of the world. I have had the opportunity to visit and attend different events and have enjoyed their first class spectacles that are side by side to those that can be seen any place in the world.

In parallel to your busy schedule, what are your hobbies?
I like football; I used to practice it when I was younger. Nowadays I enjoy recreational fishing with my family and friends. Also I support and help my wife and daughter to protect and rescue animals.

What would you advise your successors, or any future candidates who would follow you in this position?
My advice to them would be to continue working daily in the strengthening of the bilateral relations between Honduras and Kuwait.

You’ve travelled a lot during your life. Can you tell us about the most interesting places you’ve been to?
I believe that all countries offer something unique and special. The most important thing is to enjoy and learn about the different cultures around the world

What is your message to young Kuwaitis and our readers?
I encourage young Kuwaitis to maintain their national pride and to continue the humanitarian labour of their visionary leaders.

Your message for us at CP magazine:
I thank you for the opportunity to offer an important space in your magazine to promote knowledge of the Honduran-Kuwaiti relationship.

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