From the Hon Consul's Desk. Avi Lasarow

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From the Hon Consul’s Desk: A personal journey to diplomatic service

Avi Lasarow shares some of the journey that led to his appointment as South Africa’s Youngest Honorary Consul in the United Kingdom.

17-04-24 09:43

In this second instalment of “From the Hon Consul’s Desk,” I’d like to take a more personal turn and share some of the journey that led to my appointment as South Africa’s Youngest Honorary Consul in the UK.

First instalment: From the Hon Consul’s Desk: An intersection of diplomacy and entrepreneurship

It’s a narrative marked by unique challenges, profound responsibilities, and a deep-seated commitment to bridging the gap between South Africa and the international community.

I will share this one over four parts that give some insight into how making a difference and impact in business and entrepreneurship can result in ‘getting noticed’ at national level with a view to recognition by the highest organs of the state – The Presidency!

In this reflective series, I delve into an extraordinary chapter of my professional life that underscored the path to becoming South Africa’s Honorary Consul in the UK.

It’s a narrative that transcends everyday responsibilities, highlighting moments of profound international impact and personal commitment.

A Call to Action: The Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 Disaster

My journey was significantly marked by the tragic Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 disaster in 2010.

This was not merely an incident calling for forensic expertise but a moment that demanded deep human empathy and international cooperation.

My prior engagement in Libya, aiding in a high-profile case that led to a ground-breaking conviction, this had earlier established my capability in the country as a forensic partner and somebody that could ‘get the job done!’

This reputation made myself and my team the first port of call when tragedy struck relating to Flight 771.

The request for assistance came directly from the Libyan Chief Pathologist.

Amid the chaotic aftermath, our interaction was more than a professional exchange; it was a poignant moment of human connection and shared resolve.

As he handed over the victims’ samples, his grip and the weight of his words, “The sovereignty and country are relying on you, you are showing the Libyan people a warm hand of friendship through this work, thank you” profoundly resonated with me.

The responsibility was enormous – not only to provide expert identification but to offer closure to grieving families, including those of my fellow South Africans.

This endeavour was a blend of duty and privilege, encapsulating the essence of what it means to serve in an honorary capacity.

As I work in business, I realise that the “Mission” if an important factor in achieving success, and here the mission was clear.

Our work extended beyond technical forensic analysis.

In partnership with international experts like Sorenson Forensics, we embarked on a meticulous process of victim identification.

This was not just about applying scientific methods but about respecting the dignity of those lost and providing solace to their loved ones.

The delivery of the final report to the Civil Aviation Authority was a moment of profound professional and personal significance, marking the end of an intense journey and the beginning of healing for many families.

This experience, observed by high-ranking officials and noted by communities both local and abroad, underscored the multifaceted nature of my role.

It bridged the realms of science, diplomacy, and humanitarian aid, showcasing how beyond the bounds of daily life, the path to becoming an Honorary Consul is paved with actions that resonate at the highest levels.

The essence of this role, and the experiences that define it, highlight a commitment to service that transcends borders and connects hearts.

It’s a reminder that in times of crisis, the principles of humanity and international cooperation come to the forefront.

My involvement in the aftermath of the Afriqiyah Airways tragedy was more than a professional mandate; it was a profound duty and an honour that highlighted the impact one can make in the global community.

As we continue this series relating to my appointment, I look forward to sharing more insights into the challenges and triumphs that have shaped my journey leading to and as an Honorary Consul.

It is a journey marked by moments of significant international cooperation, profound personal growth, and the ever-present duty to act when called upon.

This role is more than a title; it’s a commitment to make a meaningful difference in the world, honouring the trust and responsibility bestowed upon me.

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Avi Lasarow was born in Johannesburg. He is a South African-British businessman in the field of genetics. Much of his work has been centred around DNA testing and the development of hair alcohol testing. He is based in the United Kingdom and also acts as an Honorary Consul between South Africa and the UK.