From the desk of the Consul General (January 2021) [fr]


Dear French and American friends,

For many, the holiday season was less cheerful than usual. 2020 was certainly marked by many sacrifices, efforts and restrictions. The historic situation we have faced for almost a year is above all a test of solidarity and collective responsibility. I, along with the entire consulate team, wish you a happy new year and hope that the current global crisis will conclude in 2021. Until then, in order to limit the spread of the virus, I encourage you to remain vigilant and cautious and to continue to follow the instructions of local authorities.

Despite the significance of the epidemic, the public health crisis was not the only development of 2020. Indeed, our actions to reinforce cooperation continued, even intensified, through digital means. I would like to, therefore, take the opportunity to reflect on the consulate’s scientific cooperation work. In conjunction with the Office for Science and Technology of the Embassy of France in the United States, the Atlanta office aims to increase synergies between French actors and their American counterparts in the U.S. Southeast in the areas of science, research, technology and innovation. This region is marked by the dynamism of its network of universities, research centers, federal agencies and cutting-edge industries.

As you may recall, during France-Atlanta 2020, we brought together experts from the Atlanta entrepreneurial ecosystem for a virtual event focused on the region’s strengths and the importance of structuring a network of French entrepreneurs around a French Tech community. In partnership with the University of Nantes, Emory University and Georgia Tech, we also organized a symposium on the ethics of artificial intelligence with specialists from academia, the innovative industries and government bodies from both sides of the Atlantic.

In December 2020, we celebrated the 5th anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement during a webinar featuring experts from Duke University and Georgia Tech. This event provided an opportunity to recall the historic significance of the Paris Agreement in the overall strategy to combat climate change and preserve ecosystems.

We are also working closely with the local chapter of the French-American Chamber of Commerce and the French Foreign Trade Advisors to build a French Tech community in Atlanta. This community will join a network of French Tech communities in the United States, including those in Raleigh and in Miami which were certified in April 2020. Among its missions, this new community will create a Francophile network to help French entrepreneurs establish their start-up in Atlanta, promote French Tech in the U.S. Southeast and help French startups recruit scientific talent to maintain their technological competitiveness and find contacts and funding to ensure financial expansion.

In 2021, we will continue and strengthen our efforts to support innovation.

Deeptech North America - NETVA (New Technology Venture Accelerator) is a program that offers personalized support, opportunity analysis and development of technological partnerships in the United States to young and innovative French startups. This program is managed by the French Embassy’s Office for Science and Technology. Historically, selected winners of this program benefit, among other things, from an week-long immersion in one of the most dynamic ecosystems in the United States: in Boston, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Chicago, Houston or Los Angeles. Given the increased importance of the Southeast, the 2021 edition of the NETVA program will include the Atlanta ecosystem, which will enable promising French companies to consider Georgia, or more generally the Southeast, as an international destination for their ambitions beyond the borders of France.

I am also delighted with the renewal of the Chateaubriand Scholarship for the 2021/2022 school year. This program supports doctoral students at American universities who wish to carry out part of their research work in a French laboratory. The continuation of this great initiative and the increase in the number of applications from southeastern states testify to the strong research links between France and our region.

Finally, the current public health crisis has paradoxically served to highlight the consular services offered by our diplomatic and consular network. Since the reopening to the public of the consulate on May 18, 2020 (NB. the Consulate never closed, even during confinement), the consular team has been mobilized to ensure, despite reduced staffing and the public health restrictions, the continuity of public service. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage my compatriots who have not already done so to add your information to the Register of French nationals living abroad. In addition to being informed of consulate events, this registration will facilitate the completion of certain formalities. Registration is also a requirement to access social assistance for French people living abroad (e.g., school scholarships, COVID-19 solidarity aid). In addition, it permits voting during the upcoming election of the Conseillers des Français de l’étranger, who serve in your interests for matters involving public authorities as well as administrative procedures. If you want to exercise your right to vote on May 29, 2021, remember to register before the April 23, 2021 deadline on the consular list of electors.

Please allow me to reiterate my best wishes to you for 2021. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

“[…] to live,
It is knowing that every living moment is a ray of gold
In an ocean of darkness, it is knowing how to say thank you."
(François Cheng, “Enfin le Royaume”)

I send you all my best wishes that you are "full of life," as Arthur Rimbaud would have so nicely said.

Vincent Hommeril
Consul General of France

Last modified on 29/01/2021

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