Hello Janine
Anne-Claire legendre
Anne-Claire legendre

                                            

Madame Anne-Claire Legendre, Consule Générale de France began her New York posting in the summer of 2016. She is the first woman Consul to hold this position. The active 37 year old diplomat comes from Brittany, France. After graduating from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris, she received her degrees from the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Arabic and from the University of Sorbonne-Nouvelle in Paris, in modern languages and literature.

 She serves a community of 80,000 French citizens living in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as well as French nationals living in Bermuda.

Our interview took place in her office at the Consulate, which is located in a five-story townhouse on a beautiful, quiet stretch of Fifth Avenue and 77th Street, the French Consulate address since 1952. The building was purchased in 1942 but it remained unoccupied for ten years during the war. The grand staircase, opulent chandeliers and marble floors add to the elegance of such a home; the perfect setting for ceremonies and official gatherings for sixty five years. 

                                                             

  

Janine 

I understand that friendship between France and the Unites States is very important to you. Can you explain some of the ways you will develop and further strengthen these ties ?

Anne-Claire Legendre

Our historic friendship is at the heart of my Consular mandate. The first step to take is to highlight our shared history. For example, a commemorative centennial of the first World War took place in July, 2017 with awards ceremonies, an exhibition in Central Park to honor American service given to France. We also had a special concert at Central Park Summerstage in honor of Jazz, a music form which was introduced to France at the time of the First World War.
These celebrations were an opportunity to reaffirm the tightness of our bonds and to honor our shared values: the same determination to defend freedom, the same attachment to democracy and human rights.

To commemorate this alliance, New York welcomed the Queen Mary II for the last stop of a symbolic voyage across the Atlantic. Another challenge will be to strengthen France’s influence – this is the mission of French diplomacy, and of this Consulate.

Janine 

What do you appreciate about the United States?

Anne-Claire Legendre

One of the things I admire about Americans is their spontaneity and ability to keep an open mind, especially in business. I would like to see more business exchange with France. Americans are really taking note of French startup companies and we hope to encourage business development by promoting reforms undertaken in France and giving visibility to our host innovative companies.

I also admire a certain risk taking mentality which keeps new ideas moving forward and put into action.

Janine 

There are a lot of accomodations for people with disabilities. There are laws and a fantastic amount of progress made by the multitude of associations. Have you felt that any of this could be put in place in France?

Anne-Claire Legendre

There has been a change in the French mentality on this subject. There is a lot yet to be done. It is true that all these associations here in the U.S. have addtional funding made possible by very generous donors. This is less common in France. However, the French Government is very active and there are accomodations in schools and businesses for people with disabilities. France is working to pursue these ideas and strenthen ways to protect the rights of these individuals. Money is mostly raised through taxes so people have less incentive to donate the way they do in the United States, but progress continues to be made.

Janine 

Do you think it is easier for a woman to succeed in the U.S. than in France?

Anne-Claire Legendre

A lot of progress has been made in the past year in France. President Macron has made gender equality a priority of his mandate and insisted that the government ministers be  comprised of an equal distribution of women and men. We have very good and solid "maternity leave" laws for women (and men), so in that sense, it is easier in France to have a career and a family. However, networking for women is easier in the United States than in France. There are not enough mentoring programs for women who deserve to get ahead in their careers which we are working to change.

Janine 

What do you wish for in your career and outside of your work?

Anne-Claire Legendre

I feel priviledged to be a French diplomat. I have always been lucky to have good advice given to me so I did not suffer any particular setbacks in my career. I hope to keep an open mind and to continue with focus on my goals at work. As far as my outside interests, I am careful to keep a healthy balance between my favorite pastimes: literature, writing and dance. I took a lot of ballet classes when I was young , which taught me poise and discipline. I still love dance, classical or modern and enjoy going to performances when I can. 

Janine  

I would like to know who are the women you admire the most and why?

Watch the little video clip above to see her answer in English (above) and in French, here below.

 

click here to see the photos
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Hello Janine