U.S. – France Leadership Dialogue: Washington Forum

Ambassador of France to the U.S., François Delattre (center), chats with Meridian’s President & CEO, Ambassador Stuart Holliday (right), and Amb. Paula J. Dobriansky, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (left)
Ambassador of France to the U.S., François Delattre (center), chats with Meridian’s President & CEO, Ambassador Stuart Holliday (right), and Amb. Paula J. Dobriansky, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (left)

On Wednesday, May 8, 2013, Meridian International Center hosted the Washington DC Forum of the U.S.-France Leadership Dialogue, “Strengthening the Strategic Relationship and Fostering Growth through Collaboration.” This high-level, off-the-record discussion brought together public and private sector leaders from both countries to identify key areas of collaboration on current economic and social challenges, and to lay the groundwork for the development of concrete initiatives to address such challenges.

The Dialogue began with a Roundtable Discussion entitled “U.S.-France Collaboration: Partners on Economic Growth, Trade and Full-Employment,” focusing on the timely topic of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Moderated by Justin Smith, President of the Atlantic Media Company at the National Journal Group, the discussion centered around economic growth, job creation, and collaborative ways to address mutual challenges. Distinguished guests from the public, private, and non-profit sectors shared unique perspectives on trade policy and relations between the U.S., France, and the European Union. All agreed that the TTIP is an unprecedented and historic opportunity not to be missed – not only for the U.S. and the EU, but also for the U.S. and France. Participants, therefore, concentrated on prospects for the U.S. and France to take a joint leadership role in advancing these agreements in the service of common goals.

Left to right: Congressman James Oberstar, Senior Adviser, National Strategies, LLC (left), Ambassador of France to the U.S., François Delattre (center), Congressman Bart Gordon, Partner, K&L Gates (right).
Left to right: Congressman James Oberstar, Senior Adviser, National Strategies, LLC (left), Ambassador of France to the U.S., François Delattre (center), Congressman Bart Gordon, Partner, K&L Gates (right).

Following the Roundtable Discussion and a brief networking reception, Meridian’s President and CEO Ambassador Stuart Holliday and Dialogue Program Co-Chair Congressman Bart Gordon continued the conversation over a salon-style dinner. In their examination of “The Role for Science & Technology Innovation in Future Success”, featured speakers H.E. François Delattre, Ambassador of France to the U.S. and Honorary Co-Chair of the U.S.-France Leadership Dialogue, and Dr. Patrick Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, and Director, U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology revealed the pivotal role of U.S. and French investment in new technologies, R&D, and innovative programs for generating sustainable economic growth. Emphasizing the importance of U.S.-France relations, Ambassador Delattre stated, “The U.S.-France Leadership Dialogue initiated by the Meridian International Center underscores the extent to which French-American relations are central to the transatlantic partnership from both a strategic and economic standpoint. It also demonstrates that the partnership between France and the United States is at its strongest when it takes into account our shared values and our common interests. That is the case today, from the fight against terrorism to our joint efforts in the Middle East and our common commitment to promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. ”

The potential outcomes and benefits of the TTIP on innovation policy were also discussed during the salon dinner, with particular attention to the establishment of standards, public-private sector collaboration, and the important role for the U.S. and France in setting an example for other countries on such negotiations and agreements. According to Dr. Gallagher: “Innovation is global, therefore it is essential that government innovation policies both address national interests, but also support this international innovation system. From international scientific collaborations to globally interconnected markets, the flow of ideas, goods, and services routinely span national boundaries. It was truly a special honor to join French Ambassador to the U.S. François Delattre, for a robust discussion with other business, government, and think-tank leaders from France and the US to better leverage our deep trans-Atlantic partnership and to continue enhancing innovation in both of our countries.”

The U.S.-France Leadership Dialogue was made possible with the generous support of The Richard Lounsbery Foundation, in partnership with The Association France Amériques, the French-American Cultural Foundation, and with special thanks to the Embassy of France in Washington, and to Akram Elias.

Project summary

U.S. – France Leadership Dialogue: Washington Forum
Regions: Europe and Eurasia
Countries: France
Impact Areas: Business and Trade, Entrepreneurship, Public Diplomacy, Science and Technology
Program Areas: Forums, Exchanges
Partners: Diplomatic Corps, Individuals/Donors, NGOs, Private Sector, Public Sector