2018 Annual Gala

June 13, 2018

June 18th

We are very excited that our Annual Gala is only a few days away! The Foundation’s Gala is one of the most important dates on its annual calendar. It offers an elegant and festive occasion to celebrate the French-American relationship and its own efforts over the year with many distinguished friends and benefactors. The Gala will be held at the Rockefeller Plaza for an incredible night. It’s already sold out!

It is also the Foundation’s opportunity to honor those who have dedicated their time and energy to the lasting partnership between France and the United States. Here is more information about our 2018 honorees:

  • Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States

Gérard Araud, 65, a career diplomat, was appointed Ambassador of France to the United States in September 2014. He previously held numerous positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, notably including that of Director for Strategic Affairs, Security and Disarmament (2000-2003), Ambassador of France to Israel (2003-2006), Director General for Political Affairs and Security (2006-2009), and, most recently, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in New York (2009-2014).

Over the course of his career, Mr. Araud has developed specialized knowledge in two key areas: the Middle East and strategic & security issues. As regards the latter, he was the French negotiator on the Iranian nuclear issue from 2006 to 2009. In New York, at the Security Council, he notably contributed to the adoption of resolutions on Libya (#1970 and #1973), Côte d’Ivoire (#1975), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, and the Central African Republic, and participated in debates on the Syrian and Ukrainian crises.

  • Vinton G. Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google Inc.

Vinton G. Cerf is vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google. He contributes to global policy development and continued spread of the Internet. Widely known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet,” Cerf is the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet. He has served in executive positions at MCI, the Corporation for National Research Initiatives and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and on the faculty of Stanford University.

Vint Cerf served as chairman of the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) from 2000-2007 and has been a Visiting Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 1998. Cerf served as founding president of the Internet Society (ISOC) from 1992-1995. Cerf is a Foreign Member of the British Royal Society and Swedish Academy of Engineering, and Fellow of IEEE, ACM, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Engineering Consortium, the Computer History Museum, the British Computer Society, the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, the Worshipful Company of Stationers and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has served as President of the Association for Computing Machinery, chairman of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) and completed a term as Chairman of the Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology for the US National Institute of Standards and Technology. President Obama appointed him to the National Science Board in 2012.

Cerf is a recipient of numerous awards and commendations in connection with his work on the Internet, including the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, US National Medal of Technology, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, the Prince of Asturias Award, the Tunisian National Medal of Science, the Japan Prize, the Charles Stark Draper award, the ACM Turing Award, Officer of the Legion d’Honneur and 29 honorary degrees. In December 1994, People magazine identified Cerf as one of that year’s “25 Most Intriguing People.”

His personal interests include fine wine, gourmet cooking and science fiction. Cerf and his wife, Sigrid, were married in 1966 and have two sons, David and Bennett.

  • Virginie Morgon, Chief Executive Officer, Eurazeo

Virginie Morgon is CEO of Eurazeo. Since she joined Eurazeo’s Executive Board in 2008, Ms. Morgon has accelerated the firm’s diversification and growth across investment strategies and geographies, transforming Eurazeo into a multi-strategy international investment firm able to support companies across size and scale, from venture capital to large cap.

Ms. Morgon spent over 16 years as an investment banker at Lazard and became the youngest managing senior partner in Paris in 2001. During her tenure, she advised international groups such as Air Liquide, Danone, Kingfisher, Publicis and Renault. She spent her time in transatlantic cities New York, London and Paris.

She serves on the Board of Directors of Asmodee and Moncler and is an independent Board member of L’Oreal. Previously, she served on the Boards of AccorHotels and Vivendi. Since 2011, Ms. Morgon has been regularly ranked on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International 50 list. She is a vocal advocate for diversity in leadership, as a founding member of the Women’s Forum for Economy & Society, and for global equality, as Co-Chair of the Paris Committee for Human Rights Watch.

Virginie Morgon has a degree from l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Economics and Finance section) and holds a Master’s in Economics and Management (MIEM) from the University of Bocconi (Milan, Italy).

  • Cynthia Smith, Biopharmaceutical Executive & Board Member

Cynthia is a biopharmaceutical executive with 20 years of experience leading emerging and mature companies through high-stakes and complex transformations. Most recently, Cynthia was Chief Commercial Officer of ZS Pharma, a biotechnology start-up. As an early member of the executive team, Cynthia played a key role in the company’s successful IPO to its $2.7 billion acquisition by AstraZeneca.

Prior to joining ZS Pharma, Cynthia was VP, Market Access & Commercial Development at Affymax, where she launched the company’s first product, disrupting an entrenched multi-billion dollar monopoly. Prior to joining Affymax, Cynthia held leadership roles at Merck in corporate strategy and public affairs, including worldwide crisis management for the highly publicized VIOXX recall.  Before joining the pharmaceutical industry, Cynthia served on the health care and domestic policy teams in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from 1995-2000.

Cynthia served on the board of directors of Nivalis Therapeutics. She earned an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an MS in Public Policy from the Eagleton Institute at Rutgers University, and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For more information about the Gala, please contact Dana Arifi at darifi@frenchamerican.org

Thank you!