France-Atlanta: Two Weeks of Partnerships in Business, Science
Atlanta, October 25, 2012
Honorable Nathan Deal, Governor of Georgia,
Honorable Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta,
Dr. Bud Peterson, President of Georgia Institute of Technology,
Dear members of the Consular Corps,
French Consul General Denis Barbet,
Dear Friends, chers amis,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is once again a great honor and an enormous pleasure for my team and for me to be here in Atlanta with you this evening to officially open France-Atlanta 2012, which is already in its third edition. I cannot overstate how much France-Atlanta is an innovative instrument and a unifying example for imaginative French-American cooperation.
Through my faithful participation in this annual event, I wish to demonstrate my enthusiastic support for the success of this wonderful initiative.
I would like to congratulate all of you here, American and French, academics, scientists, cultural and humanitarian partners, for your commitment and contributions to the organization of the next few weeks of debates, exchanges, meetings, and cultural events.
As you may know, your hard work has not gone unnoticed here in Georgia. I want to acknowledge the official recognition granted to "France-Atlanta" with the 2012 "Governor’s International Awards" in the International Education Program category, which was awarded on October 4. This award recognizes the success of partnerships in the field of higher education and scientific research between French and American entities from Georgia, like the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University.
It is also a great encouragement for developing this close and fruitful cooperation.
In this regard, I’m very pleased that the ground-breaking of the Institut Lafayette took place two weeks ago in Metz, in the Lorraine region.
The Lafayette Institute will open in 2014. It will be a platform of technology transfer, aimed at the marketing of innovative products, and will welcome French and American students and researchers. The Lorraine region is located in the heart of Europe and invests in innovations in partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Ladies and gentlemen, the partnerships between France and Georgia, between Lorraine and Georgia, as well as between Atlanta and Toulouse are very good examples of what we can achieve between our two countries.
In this respect, I have good news tonight : French-American relations have never been closer than they are today, as illustrated by President Hollande’s very successful visit to the United States in May, just three days after taking office.
On the diplomatic and security front, France and the United States are each other’s closest allies in the fight against terrorism, and our two countries are in the forefront of international efforts to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state. Washington and Paris are also working closely together to solve the tragic situation in Syria, where Bashar al-Assad must go – the sooner, the better.
The economic partnership between France and the United States is also growing stronger every year. France is one of the top five foreign investors in the United States, where 3,000 French companies provide more than 650,000 jobs. Airbus’s major investment in Mobile, Alabama, will create many American jobs and is a good illustration of this trend.
Conversely, the United States is the number-one foreign investor in France, and American investment in France has increased by more than 40% over the past two years. Overall, France is one of the top five destinations worldwide for foreign direct investment.
Georgia is a key and growing player in this respect. According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, France is the third-largest foreign investor in Georgia and has 400 facilities that provide jobs to more than 20,000 employees.
The very successful joint venture between Delta and Air France-KLM is a very good illustration of this. Four direct flights, amounting to 1,000 seats daily, connect Atlanta and Paris, which serve as two complementary and efficient hubs.
Here I want to recognize Air France/KLM Vice President Bernard Anquez and thank him for his commitment to this exemplary partnership between Delta and Air France/KLM. Furthermore, in July 2011, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and representatives from the Paris Region Economic Development (Hubstart Paris) and Aéroports de Paris signed a Memorandum of Understanding to identify areas for synergistic collaboration within their respective airport areas, which will certainly result in job growth and more investments and trade between Paris and Atlanta.
Innovation is no doubt one of Georgia’s trademarks, and innovation is also France’s number 1, number 2 and number three priority (…).
And this unprecedented investment in innovation goes hand in hand with a booming entrepreneurship in France (…). Promoting innovation in all areas is at the top of my agenda as Ambassador; and by presenting an exceptional scientific, business, cultural and humanitarian program centered on innovation, “France-Atlanta 2012” complies right to this agenda.
I would like to conclude by sincerely thanking once more all those who made “France-Atlanta 2012” possible, with a very special word of gratitude to Governor Nathan Deal, Mayor Kasim Reed, and the President of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Bud Peterson.
And my warmest thanks to each and everyone of you.
Vive les Etats-Unis!
Vive la France!
Vive la Géorgie !
Vive Atlanta !