By Ambassador Stuart Holliday, CEO of Meridian International Center When President Biden welcomed President Macron of France for December’s State Visit, the United States recommitted to a key, foundational component of our approach to foreign policy: strengthening alliances. The visit is remarkable in the greater timeline of U.S. – France’s long relationship as it is the first state visit of the Biden-Harris administration — a return to the traditional diplomacy paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state visit also marks the first time one French leader has been invited for two U.S. state visits, the last being in...Continue
Paris has been top of mind for Americans the past few weeks. Last month’s attack by Islamic extremists and the ongoing COP 21 negotiations have been well covered by the American media and have elicited a wide range of responses by political candidates on both sides of the aisle. It is with this in mind that Meridian President and CEO Stuart Holliday opened the most-recent convening of the U.S.-France Leadership Dialogue on December 7 by reiterating the importance of global engagement. “What this nation is all about is engaging the world and not closing our borders. Not pulling up...Continue
As in the United States, journalists and independent media play a critical role in French society. Dating back to the establishment of “fourth estate” the French have protected their right to investigate, critique, and lampoon those who hold positions of power. During a recent dinner with French journalists in Washington on the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), I was reminded of our shared values and challenges. My discussion with French journalists Vincent Jarnigon and Violette Lazard underscored a fundamental challenge binds us together. Both nations have nurtured the notion of freedom of expression and tolerance....Continue
President Hollande’s State Visit – Positioning the US and France for a Shared Future
When President Obama welcomed President Hollande of France for February’s State Visit, one of their first stops was Thomas Jefferson’s historic Monticello estate. Jefferson – himself a strong diplomatic presence in Paris in the early days of our nation, as well as a celebrated leader and innovative thinker – is perhaps a perfect metaphor for today’s US-France relationship: steeped in history, but focused on the future.
Recently, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warmly referred to France as America’s oldest ally. Our friends in Britain may have taken umbrage, but this is – technically and historically, at least – true, going back to Lafayette and Washington in the War of Independence that created the United States in the first place.