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A New Year Provides New Opportunities

A New Year Provides New Opportunities

A new year provides new opportunities. Time is already flying by – Hard to believe January is gone. It's worth setting out the major opportunities taking place across Britain and the US in 2012. We're thinking about how we in Florida have already contributed to these opportunities, and what else we can do. 2012 promises much. For this year Britain will be at the centre of world sporting and pageantry events and the US at the centre of the political world with the November Presidential elections.

A new year provides new opportunities. This new online journal is a great example of that and I am very honoured to be offered a "corner" of that to write a few words about the year ahead.

Time is already flying by – Hard to believe January is gone. It's worth setting out the major opportunities taking place across Britain and the US in 2012. We're thinking about how we in Florida have already contributed to these opportunities, and what else we can do.

2012 promises much. For this year Britain will be at the centre of world sporting and pageantry events and the US at the centre of the political world with the November Presidential elections.

First. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne on 6 February 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI. Her Diamond Jubilee -only the second in British history – will be celebrated from 2 – 4 June (the dates of her formal coronation) – in Britain, the Commonwealth and the world. This will be a huge occasion on a par with last year's wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in May last year.

Second. The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Stretching through July and August, the world's premier sporting event will ensure two months of global attention on Britain and the British people. This represents a unique and exciting opportunity for Britain to showcase herself and remind the US and the world about ourselves: the world's 7th largest economy.

Third and finally, the US Presidential elections. Whatever your political persuasion, the razzmatazz and buzz that a Presidential election generates is a sight to behold. Florida will be front and centre. She has always been a battleground state but this year she will host – in Tampa – the Republican National Convention where the Republican Party will choose their nominee for President.

All three events provide a GREAT backdrop for the work of the Orlando and Miami Consulates in 2012. Why is GREAT in capitals? The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games and Diamond Jubilee represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity to promote the UK abroad and help deliver long-term trade and tourism benefits at home in Britain.

GREAT was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in New York on 21 September 2011, and invites to the world to take a fresh look at everything Britain has to offer. It centres on areas of British excellence focusing on reasons to invest in and visit the UK. These areas are Technology and Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Creativity, Knowledge, Green, Heritage, Sport, Shopping, Music and Countryside. We want to send out a clear message that Britain is one of the very best places in the world to visit, live, work, study, invest and do business.

We have already started this campaign in Florida. Last year I hosted Aaron Cook, the UK's Tae Kwon Do Gold medal prospect at an event. Earlier this month, the Miami Consulate organised a fundraiser for the UK's Olympic and Paralympics sailing teams who spent the week training in Miami. And later this year, we hope to have Tessa Sanderson, the UK Gold Medal javelin winner visit to help us promote the Games and the UK.

But you don't need to be a sporting superstar to do your bit and have fun. Somewhat inspired by this summer's London Olympics and the opportunity to promote US-UK excellence in scientific research, I will be running 12 races in 2012 to raise funds for the Diabetes Research Institute and profile for the UK. You can read more at www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/KevinMcGurgan/Run-a-Month2012 .

Orlando has a key role to play here. It has a unique place in the UK/US relationship: for many Britons, visiting the theme parks, it is where their perceptions of the US are formed and vice versa for the many Americans who meet Britons here. I will be talking to the British-American Chamber of Commerce about their plans this year, and participating as much as possible. I hope you'll speak to them as well, and share your thoughts on how they can best promote Britain with this year's backdrop.

If you have a question about transferring money overseas please visit our Currency Exchange forum here where our resident experts will be happy to answer your questions.