A cocktail has been organized at the Consulate on January 25 in honor of LICRA (International League against Racism and Anti-semitism) and Bernard-Henri Lévy.
To see more pictures of the reception, please visit the Flickr page of the Consulate.
Speech by the Consul General of France in New York, Philippe Lalliot:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have no intention of giving a long speech so that I don’t spoil the ambiance of this evening, which we wanted to be very informal and very friendly. Just a few words to wish you all welcome to the Consulate of France.
I would like to thank, first of all, Bernard-Henri Levy, for having accepted my invitation. One does not introduce, of course, Bernard-Henri Levy, neither in France nor in the United States.
I must admit that when I was a student in the “classes préparatoires”, he was a sort of iconic figure, at the same time very much respected, sometimes criticized and always envied. That’s the price of success.
Later, I appreciated the man of conviction, the engaged intellectual and the brilliant dandy as well. The writer not mincing his words and fighting against clichés and preconceived ideas. Far from the “belle âmes”, the man always in motion, from Bosnia to Afghanistan, in passing by Algeria, Georgia, Israel, Palestine, Angola, Burundi, Columbia, Sudan and other places that I have certainly forgotten.
I discovered that the American review, Foreign Policy, ranked Bernard-Henri Levy, last December, as the 31st most influential person in the world. That is impressive. Dick Cheney is ranked at the 17th place. I don’t know what kind of conclusion you can draw from that placement. I leave it to you!
More seriously, I think there is not a French intellectual better placed to participate in a debate on freedom of speech. I’m sure that the students of Columbia University will not be disappointed and will very much enjoy your conference tomorrow.
Last but not least, I would also like to thank Patrick Gaubert and Martine Rubinstein. Without you, this reception would never have taken place.
I’m done with talking now! I wish you all an excellent evening.