State Magazine April 2014 : Page 6
In the News Sarah Jarrett, OMNI Television’s supervisor for Community and Viewer Relations, gives Toronto’s consular Section a studio tour. Photo by Maxwell Harrington Consular Outreach Builds Ties Three posts that are part of Consular Team Canada—Toronto, Québec City and Ot-tawa—observed Consular Leadership Day in January with activities that highlighted how communication is essential to good consular management and critical to the Department of State’s success. On Jan. 15, Toronto’s consular section staff visited the studios of OMNI Television, Canada’s first free over-the-air multilingual/ multicultural television system, which broad-casts 60 percent of its programming in more than 15 languages other than English. While OMNI had already interviewed Nonimmigrant Visa Officer Jingping Lai three times for its recent Mandarin and Cantonese programming, the consular section expects the visit to result in even closer collaboration. Toronto staff also invited OMNI staff to tour the consulate and 4 STATE MAGAZINE // APRIL 2014 do a story on visa processing ahead of Canada’s busy summer season. On Jan. 17, Québec City’s consular staff traveled to the nearby port of entry (POE) in Jackman, Me., to meet Port Director Tim Lacasse, talk with Customs and Border Protection supervisors, and tour the large POE facility that opened in 2010. The visit should improve communication with the consulate’s counterparts at POE Jackman, where most of the border issues involving individuals from Québec City’s consular district originate. At Consulate General Québec City, staff heard Principal Officer Hale VanKoughnett speak on how differences in cultures and customs present obstacles in communication to Foreign Service officers and local staff. On Feb. 7, Ottawa’s consular section held ethics training on the problems certain U.S. consular sections have encountered because of malfeasance. The section also adopted four goals for the coming months, including reducing wait times for NIV applicants, formalizing an improved NIV adjudication process, and conducted team-building exercises. Toronto and Ottawa also focused on 1CA, the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ endeavor to use a shared approach to leadership, management and innovation across the bureau, so that it can operate as a global enterprise with a shared mis-sion and common business culture in an envi-ronment of budgetary austerity and increasing demand for its services. Both consular sections conducted balance exercises, where staff dis-cussed their performance in the management of people, processes, customers and finances. Toronto’s staff also received a 1CA Toolkit training session via a digital videoconference.