Ambassador Delattre to North Carolina
The Ambassador of France to the United States, His Excellency Mr. François Delattre, visited Raleigh and Charlotte on February 29 and March 1. This visit reflected the importance that France places on the development of its relations with North Carolina.
In Raleigh, the Ambassador celebrated the first anniversary of the American campus of SKEMA Business School, a French business college, in the presence of Mrs. Alice Guilhon, director of SKEMA; Mr. Jean-Pierre Mascarelli, Vice-President of the General Council of the Alpes Maritimes and President of Sophia-Antipolis and Mr. Dominque Estève, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Nice Côte d’Azur. Also present were Mr. Keith Crisco, Secretary of Commerce of North Carolina; Mrs. Elaine Marshall, Secretary of State; Mrs. Nancy McFarlane, Mayor of Raleigh and Dr. Randy Woodson, Chancellor of the North Carolina State University (NC State).
SKEMA was established in 2011 within the NC State campus. Currently, almost 250 French students are enrolled for the semester. In a given year, around 400 students study there for undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral programs.
The Ambassador, who spoke in front of the students, hailed the initiative of SKEMA and thanked all of the American players of this cooperative project: the state of North Carolina, the Mayor of Raleigh and NC State. The Ambassador also met with representatives of the « Research Triangle », a technological park located in the triangle region of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, where French companies are present. Several possibilities of cooperation with the technopole of Sophia-Antipolis were identified.
In Charlotte, the 2nd financial center of the United States, the Ambassador had many occasions to meet with the local business community, notably during a reception organized by the French-American Chamber of Commerce of North Carolina and the Alliance Française of Charlotte as well as during a lunch with the World Affairs Council. In his speeches and his one-on-one contacts, including with the Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, he emphasized the quality of French-American relations, the priority attributed in France to innovation and the opportunities available for the cooperation between France and the United States in numerous strategic sectors of research and industry. He highlighted that France and Europe would come out of the euro crisis stronger and would be even more solid partners for the U.S. Noting the importance of the local establishment of Areva and Turbomeca (Safran group) and emphasizing the investment made in 2011 by Capgemini in Charlotte, he expressed the will of the French authorities to continue to develop its economic relations with North Carolina.
Finally, the Ambassador met with Mr. Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy, and visited the Bechtler Museum in Charlotte, whose collection includes several works of French artists and which develops ties with France.