France-Atlanta 2012 gathered over 4,700 participants around 15 french american events (November 27, 2012)
Inaugurated on October 25, 2012 with an official reception at the Melia Hotel bringing together about 400 guests in the presence of the Ambassador of France to the United States, the Mayor of Atlanta, the President of Georgia Tech and, for the first time, the Governor of Georgia, the series of events “France-Atlanta: Together Towards Innovation” animated the Georgia capital for more than two weeks.
In total, the Consulate General of France in Atlanta and Georgia Tech presented 15 French-American scientific, business, cultural, and humanitarian events, in cooperation with many other Georgian institutions and with the support of all the French associations in Atlanta. The quality of the events presented attracted a record number of participants: over 4,700 attendees, a 35% increase in comparison with the 2010 and 2011 editions of “France-Atlanta”.
The objective of this series of events was to deepen relations between France and the South-Eastern United States, by encouraging solid, long-term cooperation between French and American partners. In this regard, several positive results were recorded this year:
I - Intensification of academic and scientific partnerships:
The scientific symposium on “International Network for automotive application” confirmed the new innovation-driven stage of the relationship between France and Georgia Tech. It was decided to strengthen existing research/industry partnerships – especially in the automotive sector - in order to favor the internationalization of technology transfers from the innovation center, the Lafayette Institute, soon to be established in Metz, next to Georgia Tech-Lorraine.
The medical meetings organized between researchers from Toulouse, Emory and Georgia Tech offered promising possibilities of partnership between Toulouse and Atlanta, the two sister cities, in the domains of stem cells, Alzheimer disease and the histology of brain degeneration. The signing of an agreement to establish a “laboratory without walls” (or an International Associated Laboratory) is being studied.
II - Organization of useful and promising contacts between companies and public decision makers:
The three business workshops of “France-Atlanta2012” (on water management, nuclear energy and sustainable airports) enabled several French companies from these sectors to make themselves known and to establish contacts with local companies and representatives of the local authorities. In particular, the international seminar on sustainable airports, which brought together during 2 days over a hundred French, American and international experts, enabled the exchange of good practices in other to develop better, more sustainable airports zones, especially between the Parisian and Atlantan signees of the July 2011 MOU. Encouraged by the success of this seminar, the participants agreed to meet again next year to pursue their conversation, more probably in Seoul.
III - Extension of our cultural partnerships:
The themes of diversity and integration were at the heart of the cultural segment of “France-Atlanta 2012” in the fields of contemporary dance (Pierre Rigal and Compangie Dernière Minute), photography (Pierre Gonnord), music (Raphaël Imbert) and cinema. During these events, numerous master classes were also organized for students and teachers in the school system. Numerous cultural institutions decided to partner with “France-Atlanta 2012”, including The Rialto Center for the Arts, the Goat Farm, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), as well as the BronzeLens Film Festival.
The cultural segment of «France-Atlanta 2012» also established the foundation of other possible cultural partnerships with the visit to Atlanta of the Artistic Director of Le Phun, a Toulouse Compagnie which creates magical installations for the pleasure of pedestrians around the world. Also, contacts were established with the newly inaugurated National Center for Civil and Human Rights Center regarding the upcoming 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, “I have a dream”.
IV - Mobilization of the French community and youth audience regarding urban poverty:
The humanitarian segment of “France-Atlanta 2012” brought together 1,600 participants around 2 main events: a conference at Georgia Tech on urban poverty in developed countries and a series of presentations in French in Metro Atlanta high schools by NGO representatives from CARE, the Carter Center and the Peace Corps. The conference on urban poverty created an interesting dialogue between French and American NGOs Habitat et Humanisme and Habitat for Humanity. The visit of Habitat et Humanisme’s President (Ile-de-France), Bernard Usquin, gave many opportunity for the NGO to make itself known to American companies with interest in France in regards with possible financial support. Finally, the series of humanitarian presentations in high schools not only brought awareness on current humanitarian issues but also helped students discover one of the many concrete ways to use the French language.
In addition to a record participation rate, especially among young people, “France-Atlanta 2012” benefitted from a large and positive media coverage. MSNBC, Channel 26, Comcast, Global Atlanta, PBA, GPB all covered the third edition of “France-Atlanta”. Also, about 20 press articles were produced. They emphasized “the innovative, transversal and unifier aspect of this initiative by a foreign nation.”
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