From the desk of the Consul General - July 2018 [fr]
Dear French and American friends,
Diplomacy carried out at the local level does not compete with diplomacy carried out at the national level. Rather it completes and enriches it, often achieving faster and more direct results. The concept of localities taking the lead on international issues has seen a boom in France in recent years and is a concept recognized both in French law and supported by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.
Local authorities from two different countries can thus conduct exchanges and carry out a wide range of projects in a variety of fields, from the economy to urban planning and culture. In particular, cities have taken center stage on global warming — a major, if not the biggest issue on the international docket — and have been recognized for their efforts as a shining example in the fight against environmental degradation (nearly 80 percent of the Western population lives in an urban setting).
It was thus with great pleasure that we welcomed in mid-June a delegation from Atlanta’s sister city of Toulouse led by city Vice President Jean-Claude Dardelet. It was his first visit to Atlanta in his new role, and it allowed him to meet consular advisors and representatives from our community as well as officials from the mayor of Atlanta’s office and the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission.
Atlanta and Toulouse share a long history of cooperation and exchange which began unsuspectingly with the marriage of Irene Dobbs to Maynard Jackson Sr — the parents of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. Their son and Toulouse Mayor Pierre Baudis signed a proclamation in 1974 joining their two metropoles as sister cities.
The two cities are strongly committed to each other in the realm of economics, most notably under the International Startup Exchange which occurs every October under the framework of France Atlanta, the consulate’s annual event series. And that’s not even to mention the city’s many cultural and educational ties.
A huge thank you to the city of Toulouse for its loyalty and commitment! It can count on the support and service of the Consulate General of France in Atlanta. A special shoutout as well to Suzy Wasserman of Atlanta’s French Heritage Society, who has generously helped fund the restoration of the Notre-Dame de la Daurade Basilica in Toulouse, on the banks of the Garonne River.
Today, diplomacy emanates from every which direction: local communities on one side, the European Union on the other. In the second half of the year, the French Consulate General will take its turn in coordinating joint initiatives by the European Member States in Atlanta (Germany, the UK, France, Ireland, Belgium and Greece) in line with the European Union delegation in Washington. I will speak to you more about this in the future. Thank you to the group’s current president, Belgian Consul General William De Baets, who brilliantly carried out the position’s duties alongside he entire team. Well done!
On a final note, as we are mid-World Cup, I would be remiss if I did not add: Allez les Bleus! We’re keeping our fingers crossed for victory!
See you soon,
Louis de Corail
Consul General of France