From the desk of the Consul General - June 2018 [fr]
Dear French and American friends,
A naturalization ceremony is an event like no other as far as the consulate is concerned: It’s a moment that touches each of us in some way and is at the heart of our existence as an arm of the French government abroad. The arrival of a new individual claiming membership in our national community takes on a different and more vivid tone abroad. No doubt the distance of our native country plays a role in that. Nonetheless, these ceremonies, which are held at the French Residence in Atlanta in a friendly and relaxed setting, remind us in a tangible way what French nationality means. French nationality is a set of values, of "simple and incontestable principles," as our representatives on the evening of August 26, 1789 wrote. Being French is a matter of rights and responsibilities which we are proud to share. Our latest naturalized citizens, who are originally from across the globe — North America, Latin America and Subsaharan Africa — are now and forever French. It was an honor and pleasure to be with them on the evening of their naturalization.
Heads of consular posts convened this month in Paris to hear from France’s junior trade minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and French lawmaker Anne Genetet who represents French citizens living abroad, as well as our colleagues in charge of expat citizens. This annual meeting is an opportunity to remind ourselves how the services we render to foreign compatriots are at the core of our diplomatic work: protection (wether in a moment of crisis or temporary difficulty), assistance to the disadvantaged, educational aid, facilitation of democracy through the keeping of vital records, and even the promotion of our country with students, economic actors and others through visa policy. In total, there are 2,680 consular agents working in 146 countries at the behest of 1.8 million French nationals registered abroad — as well as those who seek our services during emergencies and our friends who are EU nationals who are not represented by a local consulate. Thank you for your support and do not hesitate to let us know about your experiences as we are always aiming to better the services we offer.
The last weekend of May was Memorial Day. All of the speakers at a ceremony I attended at Marietta National Cemetery reminded us of the reason we had gathered: to honor the soldiers who gave up their lives. As a representative of France the moment was particularly special, as this year marks the centennial of the WWI armistice. Memorial Day coincided this year with the anniversary of the first victory of American troops on French soil in WWI — at Cantigny in Somme, where more than 1,000 American soldiers lost their lives. A big thanks to the local authorities who have recognized France over the years — it is up to us, the French, to never forget what our country owes its American ally for its help during the 20th century.
See you soon,
Louis de Corail
Consul General of France