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Bastille Day, France, Storming of the Bastille July 14, 2021 : Consul General Vincent Hommeril's message to the French and American Community

Despite the global pandemic, we managed to intensify our relations, even if it was by virtual means, even as time seemed to stand still, we worked harder than usual. I really like this quote from the great french journalist francoise giroux, one doesn’t grow old, without learning that there isn’t a lack of clever people, but the lack of people is courage. I have seen such courage during the pandemic, which is unfortunately not over in this regard. I would like to thank my colleagues at the consulate who gave so much this past year so that we could maintain our services under the best possible conditions, and i also want to thank the consulate’s many partners who allowed our work to continue. Whether in the consular political, cultural, scientific or economic fields, in addition, i want to express my appreciation for the u.s authorities, who are courageously handling this pandemic and ensuring that all residents are vaccinated as soon as possible. I have the honor and the pleasure of serving in a country, the united states, which has an excellent and historic relationship with france. Today, a replica of the statue of liberty stands in the garden of the french ambassador’s residence in washington d.c. This is after spending the 4th of july on ellis island, alongside its big sister, which was offered 175 years ago to celebrate the centenary of the u.s declaration of independence. This new statue on loan for 10 years made this trip to celebrate freedom and french american friendship.

As you know, france reopened its border to u.s citizens on june 16.. The progress of vaccinations in the united states is the reason for this excellent outcome, and we obviously hope that reciprocity is next. There are now 7770 people in our register of french nationals living abroad, which is a little more than the 7738 of last year. The pandemic has obviously had an impact, forcing families to return to france plan expatriation also could not materialize. On the other hand, french people who have been living in our region for a long time made their way back to the consulate, as french documents were imperative for returning to france. Despite our premises being closed for two months, there was an increase in the number of passports and national identity cards issued in this year. Compared to 2019., the demand for appointments remained very strong. In 2021, appointments are filled as soon as they open, and we must offer special appointments for emergency situations. During each of these appointments, we systematically encourage individuals to register with a consulate, and this might explain the increase in the number of people on our register this year. Compared to last year, i know that many of you are still not registered with the consulate or have registration that are out of date, as i did last year. I want to strongly encourage you to register with the consulate. The process is free and easy to do. Online, knowing and concretely measuring the presence of french national in our region will allow us to ensure the adequacy of our services, the pandemic delayed for several months legion of owners, ceremonies that have been scheduled to recognize american veterans.

Unfortunately, a number of these veterans passed away in the past few months. In these cases we presented the medal to their family or even decorated, one of the children if they desired. Thankfully, we have been able to resume these ceremonies, as a native of who learned about the second world war through the memories of my parents and grandparents. I am eternally grateful to all those veterans who risked their lives and sometimes lost their lives to save a country. They did not know they fought for freedom and for our common values. This is also why it is beautiful that at this very moment, a second statue of liberty from france is being installed in washington dc even before getting vaccinated. I had the opportunity to go to nashville tennessee last february at the invitation of the frist museum in order to participate in the official opening of the picasso figures exhibition organized with the picasso museum in paris. It was a magnificent, successful exhibition. I found it extremely courageous to speak once again of courage that, in the midst of a pandemic, a cultural exhibition could be held in this way. It shows that culture remains essential during these challenging months. I would like to note the virtual symposium on climate action organized in october 2020 with the georgia institute of technology, in collaboration with our colleagues from the european consulate in atlanta. The third edition will take place at georgia tech this september. The fall of 2020 was also marked by an exceptional franchise honda which, as usual, promoted french american cooperation in the field of culture, science, business and humanitarian affairs.

The entirely virtual edition was rich in transversal events, for example, a symposium on cultural and creative industries organized with the french american chamber of commerce. Also for the first time in atlanta, we took part in the knight of ideas in january 2021. The theme was closing the distance which, in these times of pandemic and social distancing, allowed us to reflect on our situation. Our series of debates, hospitality and masking masks was also a real success. I am proud to be able to announce to you one of our biggest cultural projects in the united states, 350 years after the establishment of the villa medici in rome, a century after the inauguration of the casa de velasquez, in madrid and 30 years. After the creation of the villa cujoherma in kyoto, the ministry for europe and foreign affairs is creating this year. The fourth villa of france abroad, the villa albertin in the united states, 30 artists residences, will be operational by the end of this year and atlanta will welcome creators within this framework stay tuned regarding our activities in the education sector i’m delighted with the agreement between the Academics and north carolina, a memorandum of understanding which was signed last october, has already enabled remote collaboration between students and teachers. Saruska ronana is also worth mentioning, since a similar agreement is underway with the over ronald academic region. In terms of teaching the french language, i would like to underline the increasing importance of the label: frank education, which recognize quality, bilingual education provided in french and following the local greek columns, five establishments, which are mostly located in the atlanta region, now have this level.

I would also like to mention the french language job fair, which was held online on march 20 international francophone day. This event brought together more than 1 000 students and provided them with the opportunity to exchange with representatives from french companies established throughout the united states. The impressive background of the representative served to demonstrate how mastering the french language can be the means to fast track. The carrier. The consulate’s office for science and technology has also been very active. This past year, it has been focused on increasing signages, between french stakeholders in science, research, technology and innovation and their american counterparts in the southeast region, for example, as part of france, atlanta 2020. The office brought together experts from atlanta’s entrepreneurial ecosystems to discuss the rigid strength and the importance of structuring a network of french entrepreneurs around the french tech community, working closely with the local chapter of french foreign trade advisors, as well as a french american chamber of commerce. Of atlanta, this community received the official french tech from the french ministry of father for economy and finance. The label was also made possible thanks to the support of such local actors at the city of atlanta, the metro, atlanta chamber and entrepreneurs from the region. Also, within the framework of france, atlanta, the science and technology office organized in partnership with the university of north emory university and georgia tech, the symposium of the ethics of artificial intelligence, featuring many specialists from this discipline.

The office also celebrated the 5th anniversary of the paris climate agreement with experts from duke university and georgia tech. It should also be noted that the action of the office for science and technology was distinguished by the opening of the deep tech north america network, new technology. Venture accelerator program this year in atlanta, this program offers personalized support, opportunity, analysis and development of technological partnerships in the united states for young and innovative french startups. I am pleased to mention the renewal of the chateaubriand scholarships for the upcoming school year. This program supports doctoral students from american universities who wish to conduct part of the research at french laboratories. Finally, i would like to mention the french american chamber of commerce or atlanta, which moved from the consulate premises at the end of june. While they have left our building, they have not left our hearts. We have worked hand in hand during this past year and will continue to do so with great pleasure. Despite the difficulties associated with the pandemic, the chamber continued to offer high quality virtual programs, such as the successful beaujolais nouveau event in november 2020. Its face to face activities are gradually resuming with the next big event being summer. Champagne in august, which i look forward to attending the chamber, is also actively preparing the next france atlanta, including organizing events on alternative proteins, fintech and the crystal beach awards, which will take place in person on november 4th. Of course, there is also the french american chamber of commerce of the carolinas, which has similarly suffered greatly during the pandemic and which we will continue to support as best we can like last year.

I would like to warmly thank the alliance frances in our region, in particular the locations in charlotte nashville, raleigh and atlanta, which have helped to maintain connections within our community through virtual activities during the pandemic. I particularly congratulate the alliance forces of atlanta, which, in conjunction with the goethe syndrome, has found a new location to share that is full of promise. I also salute our honorary councils who help our community on a daily basis and were so useful to us at the consulate. Their work has increased considerably this past year due to the pandemic. The members of the consulate security committee are also to be thanked for their action and availability during the past year. I cannot end this speech without mentioning my colleagues from the european union, germany, the netherlands, greece, ireland and belgium, which, whom i have worked even more intensely. This year than last year last year, i was hoping that july 14 2020 would be the first and last virtual celebration hope held because, even though i am not physically present in atlanta for this year’s july 14th, the consulate was able to organize a small reception at The residence thanks to our deputy council, natalie gonzalez, whom i salute here, and thanks also to all my colleagues with whom i have had so much pleasure working this past year and since hope, is reborn and travel resumes, especially to france. I’Ll share with you. This invitation to travel written by the great french poet jacques prevail in his collections Music.

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