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Reception for the Trilateral Innovation Forum between Israel, the U.S. and France

Published on July 2, 2014
Speech by Ambassador François Delattre

New York (SCAC), June 29, 2014

Distinguished guests,

Dear Friends,

It’s a great pleasure and privilege for Sophie and me to welcome you tonight on this very special occasion, as we are gathered here this evening to launch the Trilateral Innovation Forum between Israel, the U.S. and France - a Forum organized by the Cardozo Law School, and by its Heyman Center on Corporate Governance in particular, in partnership with the French-American Foundation and the American-Israel Friendship.

I would like to thank Antonin Baudry and his team at the Cultural Service of the French Embassy for hosting us in this wonderful place, and I would also like to recognize some of our guests tonight:

- Nili Shalev, Economic Minister to North America from the State of Israel;

- the American delegates, in particular Lynn Overmann and Doug Rand from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy;

- Dear Dean Matthew Diller, and the Board members of the Cardozo School of Law;

- Professor Mariana Mazzucato;

- Val Myteberi, Program Director and Conference Director, who I particularly want to thank for the organization of the Forum.

A warm word of thanks also to the other Conference Director, Sophie L’Hélias, Senior Fellow at Cardozo Law School – this Trilateral Forum is Sophie’s brainchild.

I would like to recognize Renaud et Christine Dutreil, Uri Levine, Amir Eldad, Wendy Singer, Thomas Devos, and I wish I could acknowledge by name each of you.

Last weekend, with this event in mind, I picked up a book that I really enjoy, Start-up Nation, which I am sure is familiar to many of you. On the last few pages I found a quote from George Bernard Shaw. It is about apples and ideas. It says: “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”

Tonight we have at least three ideas and visions to share as Israel, the United States and France are joining efforts on innovation. This close cooperation between our three countries is of particular importance to me, and the subject of innovation is critical for our nations.

Tomorrow’s conference will bring together policy makers, business leaders and researchers to share their experiences on how to innovate and how to translate innovation into growth. We are going to mix what Dan Senor and Saul Singer called the Israeli “secret sauce,” with Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, and the newly minted French Tech label. This combination is truly ambitious, and it is full of promise.

As you all know, Israel is a great success-story in terms of innovation. Thanks to its imagination and courage, it is a world leader in this domain and an inspiring model in start-up culture.

New York does not lag behind. About ten years ago, the city invested enormously to enhance its tech scene. At the time, New York had an ambition to challenge Silicon Valley. The apple was big; but Job’s Apple looked bigger in the west. Now New York has successfully shaped its own tech ecosystem, and its tech scene is flourishing. A great lesson from this accomplishment was that you cannot simply duplicate the Valley; you have to develop something different, with your own identity and your own cultural resources.

In many ways, France is now emerging like New York a few years ago. We have many bold entrepreneurs – some of whom are with us tonight. We can see a strong climate of innovation heating up our country, with new accelerators, incubators, thriving research and development. Our French Tech initiative accompanies and supports these efforts and is gaining momentum every day. Innovation is truly France’s number 1, number 2 and number 3 priority.

Tomorrow’s conference is about economic diplomacy, but it’s also about cultural diplomacy. Indeed our three nations have their own histories, strengths, and approaches to innovation. But they share common dreams and values. This Forum provides a platform for exchanging these unique experiences with the goal of designing for tomorrow.

So my warmest thanks to each and everyone of you for your presence, your vision and for your commitment.

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