Remarks by Consul General of France on the occasion of Brett August’s Legion of Honor Ceremony
Remarks by Consul General of France Vincent Floreani on the occasion of Mr. Brett August’s Legion of Honor Ceremony - Sofitel Chicago Water Tower
(May 1, 2015)
Dear Brett August,
It´s both an honor and a privilege to award you the Legion of Honor today, in the presence of your family and friends.
You are a renowned lawyer. Your fame goes far beyond the Midwest and you have made your talents available to French companies and organizations.
After remarkable academic accomplishment at the prestigious Yale University in particular, you excelled in international and intellectual property laws. You published several articles on intellectual property.
This is not the main reason why we are here with you today. Let me highlight the three reasons why we honor you today:
First of all, you have played a key role, in the 1970s, in establishing a French-American Chamber of Commerce in Chicago. You were a founding member. You became the President of this new institution and today you remain a member. You are a familiar face at the board meetings.
This is a significant deed, as Chicago is a global city with world renowned companies. We need such a group to facilitate the establishment of French companies in Chicago and to create a professional network.
I know you take a great pride in the continuing success of the Chamber. Today, 122 French companies are present in Chicagoland and Illinois and employ a workforce of about 25,000 people.
Second, you spared no efforts to further strengthen the relations between Paris and Chicago. In 1996, you were instrumental in the formation of the Chicago-Paris partnership. You currently chair the Chicago-Paris committee.
Your counterpart is the very dynamic Ms. Renée Johnson, President of the Paris-Chicago committee. Renée is close to you and your family; you are in contact with her frequently and know each other quite well. This relationship is key to advancing the cooperative projects between the two cities.
This is also very important. This partnership, now in its 20th year of existence, is the main vehicle for the collaboration between Chicago and Paris.
You organized music exchanges between the two cities. This is an area of expertise for you, as you are also a pianist, and could have become a professional musician.
Additionally, you are interested in education. And thanks to the Chicago-Paris Committee and its French counterpart, there has been, for some years, a growing cooperation and many student-visits between High schools in Paris and Chicago.
Third, you are a promoter of the French language and food.
You are no stranger to the French language. Since you already had some command of the language, your mother Dee, advised you to attend the University in Rouen. That was sound advice. You did extremely well there, and received a degree with honors. You also spent time with the French family members who were hosting you in Normandy and you have maintained a close relationship with them, through the years. You refer to them as your French parents or brothers.
Back in Chicago, your French turned out to be very useful when you wanted to talk secretly with your wife Carey around your young daughter. But Hillary soon learned French and is now bilingual. Speaking French was necessary in the August Family.
During your years in Normandy, you discovered the wonderful food and pastries.
When you brought your family with you to France, I was told you entered a pastry shop in Vannes and ordered everything they had and ate it all, with Carey and Hillary.
That´s not all. Here you founded the Chicago Chapter of l’Ordre des Canardiers. This is an international organization, with chapters all over the world. The chapter in Chicago is among the most successful in the world. Of course, to accompany all of that good food, you needed a cellar stocked with wonderful French wine.
For all these reasons and many more, we are delighted to award you the highest French medal. This medal was created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte and the decree is signed by the President of the French Republic.
Monsieur Brett August, au nom du président de la République, nous vous faisons Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.