Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick recently received an important diplomatic honor, becoming the first Floridian to receive a Friend of Foreign Service Medal “in recognition of his remarkable contribution to the friendship between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the United States of America.”
The medal was presented by Miguel Tsao, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, on behalf of Timothy Chin-tien Yang, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Tsao stressed the significance of this honor as Mayor Slesnick is the first medal recipient in the 21-year history of their Florida office. During his speech, Tsao proudly declared that Taiwan was the supplier of 50 percent of all orchids imported by the United States, and then presented Mayor Slesnick with a beautiful 20-bloom Taiwan orchid plant as a token of his nation’s appreciation.
The ceremony and reception took place in the Tapei cultural office in downtown Coral Gables and was attended by various consular corps dignitaries, local Chinese nationals as well as friends and family members.
Present were the Consul General of St. Lucia Kent Hippolyte, Consul General of Honduras Lizette Hawitt, and Consul General of El Salvador Maria Teresa Pacheco de Gonzalez. Also attending were Coral Gables Commissioners Maria Anderson and Chip Withers, Coral Gables city clerk Walter Foeman and city manager Pat Salerno.
In his speech, Mayor Slesnick expressed his appreciation for the distinguished honor, paid tribute to the freedom-loving citizens of the Republic of China and acknowledged the great friendship and cooperation existing between Taiwan and Coral Gables.