He's on top of the world. Get to know Protocol and International Affairs Director U. Desmond Alufohai.
As the Director of Protocol and International Affairs, U. Desmond Alufohai rubs elbows with heads of state and foreign diplomats, with the goal of leaving a lasting positive impression of MIA and Miami-Dade County. Desmond has been a leader in the international community for more than 30 years and is a Graduate of the Protocol School of Washington®- a comprehensive course designed to train individuals how to teach business etiquette and international protocol.
As we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, get to know more about MIA's Protocol and International Affairs Division and the man who heads it up.
How long have you been at MIA?
Since April 22, 2019
What do you like most about your job?
By definition, protocol involves the proper procedures or system of rules used to govern affairs of state or diplomatic occasions. Most often thought of with presidential visits and diplomatic ceremonies, the appropriate protocol helps establish an organization as one that is defined by a good sense of decorum, etiquette, and cross-cultural respect.
The fascinating aspects of my job include the opportunity to work here at MIA with diverse and professional staff, meeting people from all parts of the globe, facilitating multicultural events, engaging in strategic planning and diplomatic issues, and creating long-term relationships.
What is your role at MIA?
The core mission of the Protocol and International Affairs Division of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) is to facilitate the movement of dignitaries, delegations, official guests, and VIPs through Miami International Airport and support the airport's international programs and initiatives.
I am also responsible for establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with public officials of various local, state and federal agencies and representatives of private organizations doing business at the airport, including representing the department at various conferences hosted by government organizations.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments at MIA?
Increasing collaboration between MIA and the Consular Corps of Miami, the Protocol School of Washington ® and the Protocol & Diplomacy International/Protocol Officers Association (PDI-POA), as well as the creation of a monthly division newsletter.
How does it feel to be recognized on United Nations Day?
In 1991, I was selected by the U.S. Jaycees, among other delegates, to represent the United States at the International Model United Nations (IMUN). IMUN brings youths together worldwide to learn and share ideas from diverse experiences and backgrounds where the executive board, international press, and international delegates consolidate to learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. At IMUN, I was able to gain insights into the workings of the United Nations, and the dynamics of international relations, by assuming the roles of UN representatives, members of other international bodies, and national cabinets.
The simulation of real-world issues at the IMUN and my extensive international travels were the driving force that propelled me into a career in international relations, protocol, etiquette and diplomacy. The United Nations' vision to reduce and eliminate extreme poverty, ensure the sustainability of economic and social development, strengthen human dignity and rights, and prevent violent conflicts remains even more relevant today.