Interview by: Heidi Powell
It is indeed an honor and a pleasure meeting with the Honorable, Khaled Rizk, Consul General of Egypt today. I would like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us about your office and what your duties are in Houston.
Heidi PP: First, tell us about yourself and walk us through your background.
Hon. Khaled Rizk: I graduated in 1984 from the faculty of Commerce in Cairo and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo in 1987.
I am married to Dr. Imaan Youssri and have two sons, Mostafa and Ali. I am proud and thankful for my career in my preferred areas in politics, specially the humanitarian and technological aspects of it.
I served in several departments at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and completed a course of Political Science in Bordeaux-France.
I served in several Egyptian Missions abroad and was appointed as:
Vice Consul at the Egyptian Embassy-Milan-Italy (1990-1994); Second Secretary at the Egyptian Embassy- Algeria (1996-1998); First Secretary at the Egyptian Embassy-Namibia (1999-2000); Consul at the Egyptian Consulate-London (2000-2005); Consul at the Egyptian Consulate- Houston, Texas-USA (2007-2010); Consul General at the Egyptian Consulate-Melbourne-Australia (2012-2016); Assumed the position of Assistant Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs (2016-2018)
Heidi PP: What does a Consul General in your capacity do?
Hon. Khaled Rizk: Our main objective is to serve our community in Houston and all the 11 Southern States, attending to their needs and participating in their cultural functions, trying to bring them a step closer to their second homeland and to further relations between our two governments,
Heidi PP: Tell us about the Consulate General of Egypt in Houston. What parts of America are covered by the Consulate and what are the services it provides?
Hon. Khaled Rizk: One of the main activities of the Consulate General of Egypt- Houston is promoting the development of Commercial and Economic relations between the US and Egypt.
Nevertheless the Consulate General provides the following:
1. Issuance of passports, travel documents and visas;
2. Conduct of consular outreach programs;
3. Consular authentication/acknowledgment of documents, such as deeds, school and medical records, trademarks, oaths and appointments, etc.;
4. Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths of Egyptian nationals;
5. Processing of applications for dual citizenship
Consular jurisdiction of Consulate General of Egypt-Houston covers the following States: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.
Heidi PP: What are some past, present and future goals for Egypt’s relationship with the U.S.?
Hon. Khaled Rizk: Egypt and US relations have been traditionally built around the political relations, focusing on keeping the peace in the Middle East and furthering the security cooperation. Now the relations are more focused on economics and trade. We are hoping in the future to deepen the economic relations and to further cultural harmony and understanding between the two nations.
Heidi PP: Tell us about your perspective on ways that U.S.–Egypt cooperation may be furthered
Hon. Khaled Rizk: Our main goal is to attend to the needs of our community within our jurisdiction. We organize cultural functions and symposiums to introduce every opportunity available in Egypt and better understanding of our country in Houston. As Consul General in Houston, I pay great attention to enhancing business to business relations especially in the field of Oil and Gas and Medical cooperation between the institutes in both countries as well as academic institutes.
Heidi PP: What are some big picture issues facing Egypt today?
Hon. Khaled Rizk: The challenge that is facing Egypt now is how to achieve prosperity and reach our economic goals in order to enhance the living standards of the Egyptians. Also we are focusing on how to open up our economy to the world and have better relations with our partners. In all aspects, it’s in our best interest to keep the stability in the Middle East and eradicate the danger of terrorism and integrate all elements of democratization into our political system.
Heidi PP: How is the Egyptian business community uniquely positioning itself to help Americans who are interested in doing business in Egypt?
Hon. Khaled Rizk: Egypt has divided the 2030 development strategy among its pillars in the new investment law that gives easy access to businessmen. It also allows easy remittance of foreign currency and open communication to obtain needed information. There is a better texting system. All fields of economy for investment are open, Oil and Gas, Construction, Tourism, Education, and Services. Our goal is to open our economy to a point that it appeals to all foreign direct investment.
Heidi PP: Is there anything we have not discussed that you would like to mention?
Hon. Khaled Rizk: Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me.
I am very happy and glad to hear that your magazine has completed three successful years this year, and it is indeed a matter of joy. My special greetings and hearty congratulations to all the team at iF Magazine for reaching this impressive anniversary and making this magazine reach such a great height.