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Ann Conway

Consuls Bask in Gala Salute From Friends

January 21, 1987|Ann Conway

So what if "A Slice of Orange" didn't have the swinging rhythm that's at the core of the Big Apple's theme song "New York, New York"? The ditty composed by musician Lynn Willis to salute the International Consular Corps at the Registry Hotel on Saturday night was still no lemon.

In fact, lyrics like, "We reach out to greet you in brotherhood of man, to share our souls and reach our goals of peace on earth good will to man," had Henning Kristiansen, consul general of Denmark and dean of the Los Angeles Consular Corps, proclaiming, "I think we lost our hearts to Orange County." Such was the lump-in-the-throat-provoking stuff that marked the third annual gala salute sponsored by the Protocol Foundation of Orange County. The private group raises money to support the Orange County Office of Protocol.

Each year, the flag-studded event is attended by several hundred on-the-move business, social and political types who live to hobnob in ballrooms brimming with international cachet. And each year the event is laced with intrigue, irony and the emotion that comes with promoting international brotherhood.

Where else in Orange County can one watch Leovigildo A. Anolin--consul general of the Phillipines--in a dizzying jitterbug? See the consul general of Saudi Arabia break bread in the same room with the consul general of Israel? Hear Fluor Corp.'s J. Robert Fluor II say during cocktails that "Fluor Corp. has been friends with South Africa for 25 years, and we will maintain the opportunity to buy back in if and when such time as the politics are such that we're in a position to do so"? Where else can you lend an ear and overhear whispered hopes of a papal visit to the mission at San Juan Capistrano? Watch a towering bodyguard hold tight to the revolver stashed in his pocket?

Leaping From Chairs

And, as it turned out, where else can you witness tres chic people end their evening by leaping out of their ballroom chairs to hold hands and chorus: "Reach out and touch somebody's hand, make the world a better place, if you can. . . . " with songstress Vicky McClure, the dynamo who put the ballad on the musical map at the 1984 Olympics?

"I think we've finally made it," said Ramon Curiel, chairman of the protocol advisory committee, minutes before consuls marched into the ballroom escorted by flag-bearing Cub Scouts from Pack 108 in Costa Mesa. "During the past year we've established formal relations with the State Department. We have 500 volunteers. Our foundation has 200 members," Curiel said.

"Only recently, we hosted the vice president of Argentina. We opened his visit with a formal flag ceremony at the county Hall of Administration, introduced him to the Board of Supervisors and hosted him at luncheon with the World Affairs Council at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach. After that, Bill Lusk (a Newport Beach land developer) took him for a tour of Newport Bay on his boat."

A year ago, Curiel, who hails from Guadalajara, Mexico, left his position of vice chancellor with UC Irvine to establish an international relations firm. At present, he represents Argentina, Mexico and Spain. "I promote business relations on both sides of the shores," he said.

Invitation to Pope

Saying the protocol office would "tender an invitation to Pope John Paul to visit something in Orange County" when he visits Los Angeles later this year, Curiel said he hoped to include a visit to Disneyland on the pontiff's itinerary.

"And we would want him to see all of the beauty of Orange County. He is a very simple man. So we would want to include something, a lunch perhaps, that would be comfortable. Invite people from all backgrounds of life, particularly the poor. Not the socialite aspect, but that about which the Pope is primarily concerned."

Curiel's dream for the nonprofit Protocol Foundation, he said, is to see every major firm in Orange County become a member. "With that, we would have unlimited acivity for our office. The nature of protocol, international relations, requires a great amount of business participation. To make it happen, every aspect of this county has to be involved. We have the political aspect. And we have a city liaison committee. Now, business has to come forward. . . ."

Proceeds from the event were expected to be more than $25,000, according to Mary Bonino Jones, chief of protocol.

Marilyn and Thomas Nielsen, Irvine Co. vice chairman, were honorary chairmen. Martha Fluor was chairman.

Members of the protocol advisory committee included J. Robert Fluor, Thomas Nielsen, Annemaria Ballin, Jack Lindquist, Werner Escher, Pat Neisser, Sophie Gendel, Elaine Redfield, Jack Gerken, Betty Silver, Mary Lou Hopkins-Hornsby, Harold Voegelin, Ray Johnson and Claire Weeks.

Neisser and Silver also served on the steering committee along with Gayle Anderson, Gaye Birtcher, Ruth Ding, Marcia Giesler, Melinda McCrea, Eva Schneider, Hallie Strock, Catherine Thyen and Liz Toomey.

Jim Cooper was emcee. Orange County Supervisor Harriett Wieder, representing the Board of Supervisors, officially welcomed guests. Singer Diane King and the Orange Crush dancers also performed.

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