From the desk of the Consul General (November 2019) [fr]
Dear French and American friends,
During the past two months, Atlanta has been the site of thirty cultural, humanitarian, business and scientific events honoring France, as part of the tenth edition of France-Atlanta. I am delighted by the success of this edition. I thank the Cultural Counselor of France in the United States Gaëtan Bruel and the Scientific Advisor Yves Frénot for participating in the France-Atlanta reception on October 17. I would also like to thank our sponsors, without whom this festival would not be possible: Delta-Air France-KLM, The Honorable Anne Cox Chambers, RFS & Family Foundation, King Plow and Jade Fiducial. I particularly thank Georgia Tech, with whom we have co-organized this event series since 2010. Finally, I want to thank all the participants, artists, scientists and humanitarian experts as well as the public, for taking part in this year’s events. The 2019 edition of France-Atlanta has just end and yet we are already working on next year’s edition, which I hope will be just as successful.
On October 23, Senator Damien Regnard, who represents French citizens abroad, visited the Consulate and met with French foreign trade advisers, a consular advisor, and the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta. He also visited the Da Vinci International School, whose primary school is currently undergoing accreditation approval. Mr. Regnard expressed his wish to visit Atlanta again soon.
This fall, I had the opportunity to discover parts of the southeastern United States during my travels to events and meetings in Alabama, North Carolina and Georgia.
As you know, I traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina to attend the gala of the French-American Chamber of Commerce of the Carolinas. This organization is headed by Marie-Claire Ribeill, our honorary consul.
My visit to North Carolina was also an opportunity to pay tribute to the bravery of U.S. World War II veterans in decorating Mr. Ernest Ballinger, Jr. and Mr. Claiborne Wilson of Sanford with the French Legion of Honor. This fall, I also decorated Mr. Herbert Baskin of Perdido Beach, Alabama; Mr. Wade Hayes of Conyers, Georgia; and Mr. Albert Lubinsky of Peachtree City, Georgia. These ceremonies were particularly poignant given that, this summer, we commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings. On a personal note, this history is especially important to me given that I am from Normandy and a large part of my family still lives there. In 2020, I will continue to decorate U.S. WWII veterans with the Legion of Honor. It is important that they know that France will never forget them.
It is with the same spirit of gratitude and remembrance that I went to attended the unveiling of a statue in honor of Eugene Bullard in Warner Robbins, Georgia. Mr. Bullard was the first African-American fighter pilot, and he served alongside the French during the First World War. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre for his heroism during the Battle of Verdun, and was made Knight of the Legion of Honor by President Charles de Gaulle in 1959. During the unveiling ceremony, surrounded by members of his American family, I spoke of his courage and his dedication to France.
From November 5 to 7, I had the opportunity to attend the annual consular meeting organized by the French Embassy in Washington. This meeting provided an occasion to work – along with my nine fellow consul generals in the United States – on bilateral economic relations with Business France and the regional economic service, in the presence of foreign trade advisers, including members of the Southeast Committee. We also had a consular briefing which was attended by Ms. Laurence Haguenauer, who heads the Directorate for French Nationals Abroad. I thank the three honorary consuls of the Southeast who were able to make the trip and participate. In addition, we had very interesting political, cultural and press briefings. The Ambassador of France in the United States Mr. Philippe Etienne received us at his magnificent residence. The next consular meeting will take place at the same time next year.
Finally, on November 18th, we celebrated the naturalization of three new French citizens during a ceremony at the French Residence. It is always an honor and a pleasure to mark such an occasion, recalling what unites French people: the shared values, principles, rights and duties of our Republic.
I wish you a very good end of the year and a pleasant holiday season spent with loved ones.
Consul General of France