Spring 2014

Alexandra Mora is honorary Swiss consul

Alexandra Mora is honorary Swiss consul
Alexandra Mora also is an attorney in New Orleans.

In New Orleans, where Cajun is king, Alexandra Mora ’87 says there is another culture that has deep roots in the Big Easy — the Swiss. The city is home to the third-oldest Swiss consulate in the United States and a Swiss Society that originated in 1855. Mora, a full-time attorney in New Orleans, is an honorary consul for Switzerland.

Historically, honorary consuls helped process the paperwork for passports and visas. Today, the consuls spend their time representing Switzerland at economic development and educational events. For instance, Mora was a fiscal policy panelist at an event commemorating the 250th birthday of Albert Gallatin, who was a U.S. Congressman, Treasury secretary and Swiss-American diplomat.

“Switzerland is a small country and doesn’t have a lot of natural resources,” Mora says, “so it relies heavily on things like education, biotechnology and certain fields of technology. Honorary consuls try to help Swiss companies make connections here.”

Mora says she connected with her Swiss heritage, in part, because of her experience at Binghamton University. 

“I was talking to a professor and I said, ‘How is it that my male cousins have citizenship but I don’t?’”

Although her mother is a Swiss citizen, Mora said that Swiss laws had long made it easier for men than women to claim citizenship through ancestry.

The professor suggested she look into the citizenship laws because many countries were updating theirs. It turned out that Switzerland was one of them, and she was able to register and gain citizenship.

When the previous Swiss consul retired after three decades, he chose Mora as his successor because of her involvement with the local Swiss Society and background practicing international law.

“I feel very lucky to be representing the Swiss because of my roots, and I also feel lucky because they provide a lot of resources and support.”