From the desk of the Consul General - March 2018 [fr]
Dear French and American friends,
With the holiday season in the rearview mirror, I hit the road (which was surprisingly snowy) here in the Southeast United States with a trip to Mississippi and Alabama.
Thanks to honorary consul Keltoum Rowland, I was able to meet foreign language students in Hattisburg, Miss., at the University of Southern Mississippi. Some had just come back from Strasbourg, France, while others were next in line to go. I can’t stress enough how much student exchanges contribute to bilateral relations and unifying people from different countries.
These meetings give students new cultural and historical horizons, sometimes in unexpected ways. This was made clear to me in an excellent presentation by two American students, who had studied about Alsace and Lorraine citizens who were forced into the German army and imprisoned in the Soviet Union during WWII. A giant thank you to Southern Miss and its vice president of international programs, Daniel Norton, for their commitment to our country!
My trip to southern Mississippi allowed me to meet with some of our French compatriots for an evening of "soul food," one of the hallmarks of life in the southern United States. Many thanks to Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker and everyone who participated in this heartfelt occasion.
Some 100 miles southeast in Mobile, Ala., I gathered with other European consuls general for a day of aeronautics. On this outing were my counterparts from Belgium, the UK, Germany and Ireland, although the Greek consul general was unable to join us. We quickly made ourselves at home within the walls of Europe’s aeronautical jewel, Airbus, which is based in Toulouse. This symbol of our technological excellence is emblematic of our continent as a whole, and we were glad to have been able to exercise a bit of European unity, alongside French Honorary Consul Maxanna Nichols-Lefevbre who also joined us.
A working session with the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, including with three French aeronautical companies with office in the southeast, also provided an excellent occasion to promote French industry on the American continent.
On that note, French car manufacturer PSA’s announcement in January that it will open its new American headquarters in Atlanta is a cause for celebration by French and French-American leaders in the region.
Finally, I’m pleased to announce that our team will soon be growing here in Atlanta, because Business France is searching to hire a senior aerospace trade advisor. This new colleague will work with French companies as they embark on projects and other initiatives in the United States.
See you soon,
Louis de Corail
Consul General of France