23rd December 2011 New York, USA
As 2011 draws to a close, with Christmas and New Year’s Eve just days away, many of us are busy with preparations for holiday cheer with family and friends. Here at the British Consulate-General in New York, we’re also quite busy with preparations for what will be the most exciting year in any Brit’s life: 2012.
In the year ahead, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee, and later in the summer, London will play host to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Diamond Jubilee, which will commemorate the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne, will be celebrated around the world in all the Commonwealth realms. The celebrations will be centred upon the first weekend in June, and there will be numerous official visits worldwide in 2012 by The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and other members of the Royal Family. It will be a festive and historic occasion – the only other British monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee was Queen Victoria in 1897. For our part in the celebration, the Consulate has a few special events brewing, so stay tuned for further updates as the Diamond Jubilee approaches.
The celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee will serve as a perfect prelude to the overwhelming excitement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, with the former kicking off on July 27th. All eyes will be on the UK as we host the most exciting and innovative Olympic Games yet. The UK’s long-term legacy from the 2012 Games will lay a foundation of growth and opportunity that will reach far beyond the 28 days of competition next summer. The area surrounding the Olympic Park is being built up as a national and international hub for creative and innovative business. £6 billion in contracts to build and supply the Games have already been awarded in the construction, tourism, retail, and media sectors, and officials estimate an additional £2 billion boost to the tourism industry as a result of the Games. The UK looks forward to welcoming friends from the US, which also has a proud Olympic tradition, and I’m eager to do my part to showcase the best the UK has to offer while the nation is in the global spotlight.
2012 will also be a major year for the US. It’s a presidential election year, and campaigns have been in full-swing already for what seems like the better part of 2011. Once the Republicans choose their nominee in late summer, the election fervour will reach fever pitch. This will be my first time living in the US during a presidential election, and I have been following the campaign so far with great interest.
Globally, economic issues will remain at the forefront for citizens and governments in 2012. At present, the economies of the US and the UK face a great many challenges, which is why 2012 will be a critical year to highlight that the UK remains an attractive destination for investment by US companies; that the UK is a gateway to Europe; and in short, that we are open for business and look forward to growing our transatlantic trading relationship even further.
2011 has been tremendous here at the British Consulate-General in New York, and we’ve accomplished GREAT things over the past year. My first five months as Consul-General have been a whirlwind of activity, and by the looks of it, my next twelve months are bound to fly by in flash. I want to take this opportunity to thank my excellent team at the Consulate for their hard work and dedication in 2011.
Happy Holidays to all, and best wishes for a bright and happy new year.