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IHES Annual Gala

IHES Annual Gala

Published on November 20, 2013
Speech by Ambassador François Delattre

New-York, November 18, 2013

Dear Professor Kenneth GOLDEN,
Cher Dr. Jean-Louis ETIENNE,
It’s such a privilege to have you both with us and for us this evening,

Dear Andrew Revkin,
Dear friends of IHES, among whom I’d like to recognize
Marilyn and James Simons,
Chers amis,

It is a great pleasure and honor for our Cultural Counselor Antonin Baudry, for our Scientific Counselor Min-Ha Pham and for me, as a long- time admirer and supporter of IHES, to be here with you tonight on this very special occasion.

I’d like to start by congratulating the new Chairman of the “Friends of IHES”, Professor Michael Douglas, and the new Director of the Institute Emmanuel Ullmo.

They both are most talented professionals and I extend to them and their team my warmest wishes for success. I would also like to pay tribute to their predecessors, Renaud Dutreil and Jean-Pierre Bourguignon.

Actually if IHES is what it is today, a world-class scientific center that is second to none, it is thanks to all of you. So I can only encourage you to continue this winning path.

To me, IHES is a true model: not only it is a unique place in the world where outstanding scientists from all over the globe can meet, exchange ideas – and sometimes change the World- but it is also a bridge between France and the United States. To give you just a few illustrations of this, among the two hundred visitors to IHES every year, nearly 30 % come from the United States; the National Science Foundation (NSF) has allocated support to IHES every year, since 1985; and of course the institute has a longstanding relationship with the Simons Foundation which has always been extremely supportive of IHES. There are also many scientific collaborations between the institute and prestigious American institutions such as the Courant Institute of New York University, the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) of Princeton (which inspired the creation of IHES) and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at Berkeley. Here I’d like to mention the strong support of Doctor Raymond SACKLER, whom I was privileged to present with the medal of “Officier de la Légion d’Honneur”, France’s highest award, this very afternoon.

Dear friends,

Our event tonight could not come at a better time as French-American relations, and this is good news, have rarely been stronger than they are today.

This is true on the diplomatic and security front. The United States and France are each other’s closest allies in the fight against terrorism, as illustrated by the recent French military operation in Mali, with much appreciated American support, to combat Al-Qaida in Africa.

In the same vein, the U.S. and France are in the forefront of international efforts to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons state. This is one of President Hollande’s priorities in his current visit to Israel, where he addressed the Knesset earlier today.

The scientific and academic university cooperation between our two countries is also growing stronger every year. It is one of my top priorities as Ambassador. Every day we at the Embassy conclude or help conclude an agreement between French and American universities or research labs for exchanges of students, scientific partnership and incubators’ collaborations.

To promote these partnerships we at the Embassy have created new entities like the “Partner University Fund”, which supports three-year academic and research partnerships at the graduate and post-doctoral levels.

This is a great success story. To give you just an example Dr. James Rothman of Yale University, who was only a few days ago awarded the Nobel Price in Medicine, is a laureate of our “Partner University Fund”.

Mes chers amis,

As the French Ambassador in this country, I am particularly proud of the quality of the French “Ecole de mathématiques” (school of mathematics) which has led to 11 Field Medals awarded to French Mathematicians, the same number received by American Mathematicians.

But regardless of nationality, you are all serving science and the common good.

That’s what the IHES and the theme of this event, “The mathematics of Planet Earth”, are all about.

And for instance, this is the spirit in which we must prepare together the next major international conference on Climate Change that will take place in Paris in 2015, and which is a top priority for our two countries.

Chers amis, what the IHES does here in the U.S. is in many respects a source of inspiration for the growing scientific partnership between our two countries.

So my warmest thanks again to each and every one of you and my warmest encouragements to the IHES and its American Partners.

And if I may

Vive les Etats-Unis !

Vive la France !

Et vive l’IHES !

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