Hamden (AP) - A Connecticut business professor who promotes greater international trade is taking on a new job as a diplomat.
Christopher Ball, an international economics professor at Quinnipiac University and director of the Central European Institute, is set to be inaugurated on Thursday as honorary consul of Hungary for Connecticut.
Ball, who was raised in Alabama, has made Hungary something of a second home. He moved to Budapest in 1994 where he was project director at the Hungarian Atlantic Council, focusing on Hungary joining NATO and promoting cooperation between western Europe and North America.
Ball and others organized the Central and Eastern European Network, a group of former Hungarian, Romanian and other central European business representatives, lawyers and academics who want to boost trade.
Ball was selected as honorary consul by the Hungarian government and is recognized by the U.S. State Department. He said he'll be the 13th honorary consul in Connecticut, joining others from Albania, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Pakistan and Portugal, he said.
In his job, which is unpaid, he will promote academic exchanges and commercial, economic, cultural, scientific and tourist ties between the United States and Hungary and will represent and safeguard the interests of Hungarian citizens and corporate bodies in the United States.
He said he also will handle modest public duties such as giving the official stamp to paperwork by Hungarians in Connecticut and getting quick access to Hungarians in legal trouble.
"If a Hungarian citizen gets tossed in jail in Connecticut, he can call me," Ball said.