Inaugural event attracts overwhelming, diverse crowd

Consuls General of Uzbekistan and Japan fly in day before;  Seven honorary consuls take part.


8 December, 2009–/ The first annual Cocktails with the Consuls took place at the Parisian Palace in Las Vegas, to the acclaim of an at-capacity, unusual collection of guests.    

At-capacity crowd converges on Parisian Palace for Cocktails with the Consuls

At-capacity crowd of dignitaries converges on the Parisian Palace for Cocktails with the Consuls

Over 150 international business people, political candidates, personal and corporate security specialists, former CIA, FBI, State Department and Special Forces officers mixed with diplomats, entertainers, celebrities, corporate sponsors and local Las Vegas society, in a renaissance of international business and investment opportunity.    

“It was a great function. Congratulations to the Las Vegas Consular community for this great evening.  Ditto on the recognition of Nico, Jonathan and Paulina.  Nico’s design skills are incredible.  What a wonderful venue.  I will see you all again soon.  Thanks for the opportunity, I enjoyed it very much.”  –Gary Furlong, Honorary Consul General of Uzbekistan     

Included in the honored guests were:    

  • Ken Walther, decorated former CIA officer
  • Gary Furlong, Honorary Consul General of Uzbekistan
  • Kathleen Blakely, Honorary Consul General of Japan
  • Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl, Honorary Consul of Chile and Member of the Board of Directors of the World Federation of Consuls
  • Jerome Snyder, Honorary Consul of Great Britain
  • John Petkus, Honorary Consul of Poland
  • Dr. Aldo Aguirre, Honorary Vice-consul of Guatemala
  • Dr. Geoffrey Vanderpal, Honorary Consul of Slovakia*
  • Senator Roberto Benvenuti (Italy) 


Marco Antonio Varela and Betsy Ann Fiore perform at Cocktails with the Consuls

Marco Antonio Varela and Betsy Ann Fiore perform opera at Cocktails with the Consuls.

Guests were treated to a brief talk by Consul General Gary Furlong, who’s legendary and daring work in the former Soviet Union is chronicled in the book “Who the Hell is Bob” by Steve Rudman.    

Following Gary our keynote speaker was Ken Walther, a decorated veteran of nearly three decades as a CIA officer.  Ken’s work in 100 countries is chronicled in several books, and the unique secret technology department he helped develop is the subject of the book “Spycraft” by Robert Wallace.   

~ Facebook Photos ~

 ~ Slideshow ~

Capo's Italian Steakhouse

Tequila Don Cardona

Chez Paulina Private Luxury Guest Residences
Sun Paradise Natural Spring Water

 Consular Chamber of Commerce

*Dr. Vanderpal is the immedate past consul in Las Vegas, Nevada and is Consul Applicant in Austin, Texas

Soviet Armenia, 1988.  A Seattle lawyer with a passion for international relations leads an earthquake relief team behind the Iron Curtain. Many of his colleagues think Gary Furlong is nuts, even before he takes his 55 volunteers across the Soviet border without visas. 

News of the team’s search & rescue and emergency medical relief work crosses the Caspian Sea. 1500 miles east, diplomats in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, get word of this unusual American leader. 

Consul General Furlong with Former Soviet Union Spokesman Vladimir Pozner

Two months later, Gary returns behind the Iron Curtain, this time to meet officials in the Uzbek Capitol, helping to expand the most successful US-Soviet Sister-City alliance, between Tashkent and Seattle, begun in 1973. 

Elected President of the Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association in 1993, Furlong for ten years leads delegation after delegation to Uzbekistan, creating dialog on the rule of law, medicine, democracy, education, performing arts, banking, airline production, investment, tourism and mass media. 

Other Central Asian countries have followed suit, pushing the Seattle attorney to stretch his diplomatic ability as far as Russia. This year he led a Seattle team to three central Asian countries on a US State Department-funded global warming study, and still had time to become a founding member of the Consular Chamber of Commerce. 

Gary Furlong was confirmed as Honorary Consul General of Uzbekistan to the Western United States in 2002. His story is American. His life, stranger than fiction. He’s about to make his first official consular visit to Las Vegas, and we are thrilled to have him attending Cocktails with the Consuls on December 8th.

Read the story of Consul General Furlong’s wild ride in and out of Soviet Armenia in the authorized book exerpt (.pfd).