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10 ans du Cercle Jefferson

10 ans du Cercle Jefferson

Discours de M. Christian Pierret, IV 1981, Président du Cercle Jefferson

Good evening, thank you for the warm welcome, I am very pleased to recognize the DCM, Mr Mark Taplin at the US embassy for his support to make the celebration possible. Without his dedication and the hard work and effort of his staff, tonight festivities would not have been possible. In particular I would like to acknowledge Ida HECKENBACH and the office of cultural affairs for organizing, managing and helping to lead the delegation from United states. 

I am reminded of a famous French quotation « In America, I saw more than America, I saw a picture of democracy”. This quote by Alexis de Tocqueville, one of our most recognized philosophers reaffirms the values and ideals of the United States. 

The visit from the NCIV delegation to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Cercle Jefferson is just one recent mark of a much longer and profond relationship between united state and France.

The friendship between our two countries began more than two hundred years ago truly at the birth of your nation, your own struggle for freedom and liberty served as inspiration for our own revolution, and it was then that the friendship was returned. The strength of this relationship was build upon the shared ideals of a similar vision of the world, democracy and liberty.

Over two centuries, the relationship has gotten stronger and deeper, not entirely, but in part to program like the IVLP.

At this anniversary, I am also reminded of the tragic event of 9 11 and my emotions are so strong that I am nearly brought to tears. 

I also must acknowledge the profound personal friendship that was build upon my own participation in the IVLP in 1991. This journey created a very strong heartfelt connection to the United state and your people. 

In addition to the connection build by the IVLP, i also feel a strong connection to the united states because of my public service as mayor of Saint-Dié-des-Vosges “ a city liberated by the Americans in 1944” and also the birthplace of the first documented use of the word “America” where it appeared on a map in 1507. 

So, clearly, you can see why i am so proud to serve as the president of the Cercle Jefferson and have profound respect for the 80 000 volunteers that make up the program in the united states.

I want to take the opportunity to recognize Alma Candelaria, the director of the office of international visitors at the state department, as well as the chair of NCIV board of director Alexander Durtka from Wisconsin.

And I am delighted to acknowledge the woman who is regarded as the most intelligent, dedicated and passionate professional working in citizen diplomacy “Dr Sherry Mueller”, president of NCIV.

Under Sherry‘s leadership over the last 16 years, NCIV has grown to become the most influential voice in the field of public diplomacy. 

We, in France, are well aware than NCIV is known to bestow the “highly coveted gold star” upon individuals who have demonstrated a strong commitment in furthering excellence in citizen diplomacy. While we cannot compete with that honor, we, in France, are sometime known for going over the top. Therefore, tonight, I am honored to present to Sherry Mueller for the first time, what I am sure will become, the “highly coveted crystal star” of the Cercle Jefferson. 

I am also pleased to acknowledge the president of the Cercle Andrew Young, Dr. Thomas Atenga, in addition it is my privilege to recognize Vicente Lopez-Ibor, president of our sister association el Circulo Jefferson.

In conclusion, i hope that we can gather once again in another ten year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Cercle Jefferson, but not just as an association but rather as a foundation, servicing citizen diplomats in France and all over Europe.

And as you in America, God bless the NCIV, God bless citizen diplomacy and God bless you all !!

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