Bonjour France-Atlanta

Photo by Basheer Tome / Student Publications
From Nov. 29 through Dec. 12, the Institute is co-sponsoring “France-Atlanta 2010: Together Toward Innovation” in partnership with the Consulate General of France in Atlanta. This program features a series of 20 different events focused on the arts, business, science and humanitarian efforts. These events are taking place all around Atlanta, though Tech is hosting nine on campus.
Organized under the High Auspices of the Ambassador of France to the United States, Governor Sonny Purdue and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, this initiative was intended to unite American and French experts in various fields in order to facilitate an academic and cultural exchange of ideas.
According to Pascal LeDeunff, consul general of France in Atlanta, nearly one hundred prominent French figures have temporarily relocated to Atlanta in order to participate in this occasion.
“Many have crossed the Atlantic to join us in Atlanta for ‘France-Atlanta 2010’, including the vice-president of the Lorraine region, the vice-president of the Conseil général de la Moselle, the president of Metz Métropole, the mayor of Metz and a delegation from the City of Toulouse,” LeDeunff said at the opening ceremony, held on Monday, Nov. 29 at The World of Coke. “They came to Atlanta with top scientists, business leaders, artists and NGO leaders. Tonight, I would like to salute them.”
Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson also spoke at the occasion and made his enthusiasm for collaboration with the French delegation clear to all in attendance.
“The events of these next two weeks are about increasing awareness, building bridges, increasing collaboration and celebrating our cultures,” Peterson said.
The partnership between Tech and France began 20 years ago with the establishment of Georgia Tech Lorraine, Tech’s first international campus, located in Metz, France. Since its inception, more than 2500 graduate students have studied at the campus, and American and French scientists conduct ongoing joint research.
On June 15 of this year, Peterson traveled to the campus in Metz, France to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the GT Lorraine program, and it was established that a celebration in Atlanta would be appropriate as well.
“The Georgia Tech-Lorraine campus offers students from around the world the opportunity to take undergraduate and graduate courses taught in English by Georgia Tech faculty,” Peterson said.
Plans are also underway to expand Tech’s presence in the northeast region of France. On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Tech officials and representatives from Lorraine signed a letter of intent to establish the Lafayette Institute, a new resource center for industry and academic research laboratories. The agreement was signed at the “Investing in France-Focus on the Lorraine” event, held at Tech in the Wardlaw Center.
This new $30-million facility will facilitate the commercialization of innovations in optoelectronics, a branch of physics that deals with the interactions between light and electric fields. This includes invisible forms of radiation such as gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet and infrared as well as visible light.
“By providing our industrial partners and academic research laboratories access to state-of-the-art facilities, we will be creating an environment where solutions to global challenges, ranging from energy to medical technology, can be developed,” Peterson said. “This Institute also underscores Georgia Tech’s commitment to expand our global partnerships.”
The institute will provide access to state-of-the-art nanofabrication facilities and will focus on technologies at the intersection of materials, optics, photonics, electronics and nanotechnology. French authorities will finance the costs of this groundbreaking facility, which will amount to around 23 million Euros, or $31 million.
“This European innovation hub will strengthen Georgia’s global footprint in technological innovation and serve as a link between research laboratories and industry, where technological solutions and prototypes can be developed rapidly to stimulate economic development,” said Yves Berthelot, president of Georgia Tech-Lorraine.
Tech is hosting numerous other events for the “France-Atlanta 2010: Together Toward Innovation” occasion, including the humanitarian presentation “Bringing Awareness to Haiti Aid Relief,” which will be held in the Student Center on Dec. 6.

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