On May 12, 2016, photographer Thomas E. Franklin accepted the Lohez 9/11 Foundation’s Distinguished American Spirit Award during the annual Lohez Awards festivities at the French Consulate General in New York City. These are Mr. Franklin’s full remarks.
Camille Andrieu, a 2014 Jerome Lohez 9/11 Foundation Scholar, has received the 2016 Claude Erignac Prize for her project, SoMaire. Camille was presented with the award, which carries a value of up to 8,000 euros, by Gérard Larcher, the president of the Senate of France, at a special ceremony in Paris last month.
Since 2001, the annual prize, awarded by Sciences Po in partnership with the Claude Erignac Association, has been given to a Sciences Po student whose project conveys humanitarian values and aims to enhance democratic life in France and beyond. The Claude Erignac Association was formed following the murder of French Préfet Claude Erignac in 1998.
“I was delighted and excited to find out I was the Claude Erignac Association’s 2016 recipient and that the jury wanted to support SoMaire’s potential social and public impact,” said Camille. “It felt great to receive compliments from external stakeholders.”
SoMaire aims to become the first professional collaborative platform for French mayors in rural municipalities. The project grew out of Camille’s first-hand observation of rural French territories, which make up 92% of France’s communal network and have limited resources. The state’s disengagement and lack of available digital resources have made it difficult for these territories to keep pace with the level of governance of urban cities. Their mayors usually perform their duties in addition to holding a primary full-time job in another profession. In addition, due to a reduction in state subventions, communal councils are often forced to reduce their staffing. As a result, these areas are exposed to issues they do not have the adequate expertise to deal with.
SoMaire’s platform will create a unique network of expertise among French mayors. They will gain privileged access to communal projects in France and will be able to exchange information and share best practices. The platform is being developed in partnership with the AMRF (French Organization of Rural Mayors), which includes 10,000 municipalities. A network of local and international ambassadors is now being formed as the project gets under way.
“The prize’s financial compensation has allowed me to dedicate more of my time to this project by raising awareness about the issues at stake, reaching out to relevant actors, handling the legal aspects and building the digital platform,” said Camille. “But perhaps most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to meet Claude Erignac’s family members, whom I respect a lot for their generosity and dedication.”
The project is built upon a vision of a renewed digital and participatory democracy. SoMarie’s next stage will open the project up to citizen consultation at local and international levels, enabling mayors and citizens to connect instantly on topics of interest.
Camille graduated in 2015 from the dual master’s degree program at Sciences Po and Fudan University, “Europe and Asia in Global Affairs.” She is also an accomplished athlete who was selected for the national French women’s basketball team. She is currently studying at HEC and Berkeley before she moves on to prepare for the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA) exam, the highly competitive exam for those who want to study at ENA and prepare for a career in the French higher civil service.
The two began experimenting with pop-up dinners as an unorthodox social experiment. However, their events soon took off, and six months later, they decided to scale up their project by building a platform for diverse dining experiences. To date, BogotaPopUps has provided 17 handcrafted dinner parties, brunches, cooking classes, and jazz evenings at locations across the city of Bogotá, Colombia, serving more than 200 dinner guests, from more than 30 nationalities, at its tables. The events strive to create experiences that match the feel of a dinner celebration with friends, fostering a broader humanitarian awareness and global consciousness that can be gained while discovering new ethnic food systems and cultures. The BogotaPopUp team is now working to create a network of trusted suppliers, who produce food in a socially and environmentally responsible way.
Still under the age of 30, the BogotaPopUps co-founder Andrés Lizcano Rodriguez has led a very impressive young life. He attended college in his home country of Colombia at Los Andes University, where he studied mathematics with a minor in law, graduating with high honors.
During Andrés’s time at Los Andes, he spent a year abroad in Montpellier, where he co-founded the Montpellier Branch of an NGO called Foundacion YOCreo En Colombia. His goal was to prove to the outside world that Colombia was not just suffering from armed conflicts involving drug-trafficking and terrorism, but that it is also a country with a long and distinguished history, diverse cultural heritage, and immense economic potential.
As a Lohez Foundation Scholar, Andrés completed his studies in 2013 for a dual master’s degree in International Development between Sciences Po in Paris and Columbia University in New York, believing his experiences in both America and France helped prepare him to take the risks needed to effect real change in Colombian society.
After graduating, Andrés set his sights on achieving a career as a public intellectual and, eventually, on becoming Colombia’s official Ambassador to the United States and/or France.
Since graduating from Columbia University, Andrés has held a variety of positions. He served as a Columbia University Capstone Analyst for the Citi Institutional Clients Group, where he conducted research on legislation and international regulatory coordination and designed an analytic framework for Citibank’s incremental business.
He was also a World Affairs Editor at The Morningside Post, writing and editing articles for Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs’ newspaper. At around the same time, he was a teaching assistant for the graduate course, “Economic Development in Latin America,” at Columbia University. The following summer, after graduation, Andrés served as an Advisor at Think Impact in Ghana, where he facilitated the learning experience of international scholars working with the rural Ghanaian population, designing and implementing social enterprises, as well as planning and conducting training and workshops, and documenting the scholars’ progress throughout their journey.
Andrés returned to New York that autumn to work in Media and Communications at Reboot, defining and implementing a social-media strategy for the company, as well as conducting media monitoring in the fields of information and communications technology, open government, and institutional reform/public financial management.
Moving on from that position in February 2014, Andrés became an empowerment analyst at Univision Communications in Miami, Florida. There he created a new system to track workflow, and he designed an impact evaluation of the Empowerment Unit’s work.
He finally settled at a long-term position at the National Planning Department in Colombia in September 2014, where he is currently the Misión para la Transformación del Campo (advisor). Here he is responsible for the competitiveness strategy, which suggests guidelines for Colombia’s medium-term agricultural competitiveness policies and meets with policymakers, private- and non-profit sector leaders, and farmers in order to understand current policies and analyze long-term trends.
With this incredible resumé, Andrés has built BogotaPopUps from the ground up with his partner Sara. They and the rest of the BogotaPopUps team will soon be paying an exploratory visit to an organic farm, and will also be holding a two-day cooking class in – yes – a castle during a November weekend.
Please enjoy the remarks of these three remarkably talented young scholars, as delivered at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Lohez 9/11 Scholarship Foundation, 14 May 2015. And as you listen to the words of these future leaders, please consider making your most generous donation to help continue the work of the Lohez 9/11 Scholarship Foundation. Thank you!
On the evening of May 14, 2015, the Jérome Lohez 9/11 Scholarship Foundation staged its 10th Anniversary Celebration and Scholarship Award Presentation in the Rose Salon at the French Consulate in New York City.
Arriving guests were greeted by the late afternoon sun streaming through the Rose Salon’s curtained windows, with the tall trees and greenery of Central Park illuminated opposite the Consulate. The popular sounds of Carla Virola and the Carla V. Band served as a musical bed throughout the early meet-and-greet, featuring cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres, which accommodated the growing complement of attendees during the first hour.
Ms. Virola, an actress, singer and musician, who served as Emcee for the evening, called the crowd to order shortly before the opening remarks from the Consul General Deputy Mr. Bernard Faro, who noted the 10-year history of the Lohez Foundation and its long association with the officials of the French Consulate, past and present.
Ms. Virola then offered a welcome to all who had come to celebrate Foundation’s 10th Anniversary and the 2015 Scholarship Award Presentation.
“This is an exciting one-decade anniversary year for the Lohez Foundation,” she said. “Not only is the Foundation awarding scholarships to a new class of five international students. It is also actively recruiting and welcoming new members to its executive board of directors. In a few weeks, it will debut a terrific new tri-lingual website” created by Ms. Kelsey Holland of Tranquility49 PR.
Ms. Virola noted also that portions of the event were being videotaped, to be featured on the new website, and that announcements would be made in advance of the Foundation website’s go-live date.
Ms. Virola then introduced the “Founder of the Lohez Scholarship Foundation, a global citizen who is an educator in her own right, Ms. Dening Wu Lohez.”
Ms. Lohez spoke briefly but movingly of the work of the Foundation.
“In this year of 2015,” she said, “the Lohez Foundation finds itself confronted by new and expanding horizons. From a small scholarship foundation with a special mission, we have begun a steady transformation into a global educational exchange and charitable organization.
“As many of you know,” she continued, “the US and French authorities announced this past January their willingness to double by 2025 the number of student exchanges between their countries. At the same time, the exchange of students between France and China will increase to 50,000 students per year from 35,000.
She concluded: “This clearly is the opening of a new opportunity for the Lohez Foundation to partner with new institutions, to work with new young global leaders and to make a lasting difference in the interconnected world that we live in.”
Appropriately, the next speaker to the podium was the Director General of the École Pour l’Informatique et les Techniques Avancées, better known as EPITA, Dr. Joël Courtois, who had traveled from Paris to New York to attend the celebration. Jérome Lohez was himself the recipient of a dual-degree from EPITA and Stevens Institute of Technology, and the latter institution was the scene of the first meeting between Mr. Lohez and his future wife, Ms. Dening Wu.
Next Dr. Anne B. Waters presented to the 2015 Lohez Foundation Scholar Ms.Juliette Faure, who has pursued a dual degree between Sciences Po and Columbia University SIPA. Dr. Waters acted as a Lohez Foundation Scholarship Selection Committee Member for 2015, and had served until earlier this year as a senior associate dean of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs
Next, Mr.Antoine Desir presented to 2015 Lohez Scholar Ms.Barbara Crépeau, who has pursued a dual degree between EPITA and Stevens Institute of Technology. Mr. Desir is 2012 Lohez Scholar and a dual-degree graduate of Columbia University / École Polytéchnique. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Operational Research in the Columbia University Department of Mathematics.
This evening also featured a virtual guest from France. One the 2015 Lohez Scholars, Mr. Soliman Elcheikh, could not attend the evening in person, as he was completing his final exams at Sciences Po in Paris. “However,” said Ms. Virola, “he has provided us with taped remarks from what appears to be a very scenic location on the Mediterranean.”
Introducing Mr. Elcheikh’s remarks was Ms. Sibylle Eschapasse, who works as an employee of the United Nations and is a frequent contributor to Paris-NewYork.tv. She is also president of the Association of French International Civil Servants in New York.
Next at the podium was Mr. Kai Yang, proprietor of the Dejavu couturier in New York, who spoke briefly and presented three gift certificates to Ms. Lohez, who accepted on behalf of the Lohez Foundation. The gift certificates will be auctioned off via the Lohez Foundation Facebook to benefit the Foundation.
Ms. Virola then read a list of thank-yous that Ms. Lohez had provided, citing a number of guests and supporters, including:
Mr. Richard Ortoli, French Elected Representative for the Eastern US; Ms. Léa Futschik, Higher Education Attaché, Executive Director, Partner University Fund of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy; Mr. Allan Chapin, Chairman of French-American Foundation; Dr. Joël Courtois, Director of EPITA, Paris; Dean Michael Bruno, Schaefer School of Engineering & Science, Stevens Institute of Technology; Dean Gregory Prastacos, School of Business, Stevens Institute of Technology; Ms. Dawn da Silva and the Stevens Office of Development; Ms. Sharen Glennon, Associate Director, School of Business, Stevens Institute of Technology; and Mr. Patrick A. Berzinski, CEO, Tranquility49 PR
Ms. Lohez also extended special thanks to Ms. Sibylle Eschapasse and Ms. Karen Wang, who brought many guests to the evening’s event.
“As always,” Ms. Virola said in closing, “please consider making your most generous donation to the Lohez Foundation. Your donations allow the Foundation to continue the important work it does for emerging young leaders around the world, some of whom we have had the privilege to meet this evening.”
Once again this year, fine wines were donated to the occasion by Pernod-Ricard USA. Fine catering was provided by Diane Gordon Catering Services. Baked gourmet desserts were donated by Ms. Yu-chen Juang. Multimedia services were provided by Jason Guzman and Anastasiya Tarlikova of Tranquility49 PR, as well as by independent photographers Ms. Miao Hong and Mr. Te Wu.
Invaluable assistance on the part of the Consulate Events Staff was provided by Ms. Aurélie Cole and Ms. Claire Voisin, as well as Mr. Yann Yochum of the Press and Political Office.
The Graduate Dual-Degree Program on Europe and Asia in Global Affairs is a transnational joint-venture between Sciences Po in Paris, France, and Fudan University in Shanghai, China.
These two great universities have partnered with the Jérôme Lohez 9/11 Scholarship Foundation to open scholarship opportunities for all students who are enrolled in the graduate dual-degree program. The first year of study will take place in Paris, and the second year of study will take place in Shanghai.
The Europe and Asia in Global Affairs dual degree is available to all students who are interested in analyzing European and Asian studies from both comparative and international relations perspectives.
The European Union sees Asia as the new frontier of its international policies due to the important challenges it faces on an economic and a geopolitical level. At the same time, this dual degree is aimed at European specialists who would like to deepen their understanding of Europe through a comparison with Asia; at Asian specialists who aspire to strengthen their understanding of Asia in relation to other regions; and at International Relations specialists eager to acquire a more specific insight on the challenges and content of Europe-Asia relations. The students enrolled in this dual-degree program will benefit from the research network that exists between Sciences Po and Fudan University in international relations.
Graduates of this dual degree will have access to a wide range of career openings in European affairs in Europe or elsewhere in the world.
The deadline for applications to the Lohez Foundation is Sept. 30, 2014. The board will meet to review submissions in mid-October and scholarship winners will be announced in early November. The award presentation reception is usually held at the French Consul’s residence in Shanghai.