2024 Gala

May 29, 2024

On Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024, the French-American Foundation—United States held its annual Gala at the historic Rainbow Room in New York City.

After a stunning performance of the French and American national anthems by Molly Dunn, French-American Foundation Chairman Edward C. Wallace took to the stage to share welcome remarks. His opening speech was followed by remarks from Ambassador Laurent Bili, Ambassador of France to the United States.

The evening then moved on to its first award presentation. Marc Lacey, Young Leader ’01 and New York Times Managing Editor, presented the 2024 Young Leader award to Isabel Wilkerson, Young Leader ’94 and New York Times Bestselling Author and Pulitzer Prize Winner. Wilkerson was recognized for her enduring commitment to the mission and ideals of the French-American Foundation Young Leaders program. Lacey applauded Wilkerson’s remarkable contributions to journalism, which include her groundbreaking work on the 1993 Midwestern Floods and her publications The Warmth of Other Suns, about the Great Migration, and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, about the complex structure of racism in the United States.

The second honoree of the night, Raymond J. McGuire, President of Lazard and French-American Foundation—United States Board Member, was then presented his award by television producer, author, and screenwriter Susan Fales-Hill. McGuire was recognized for his personal and professional commitment to ensuring mutual understanding and productive relations between France and the United States of America. Fales-Hill described McGuire’s journey from his childhood in Ohio to his career as a successful financier and businessman. McGuire was praised for his intelligence, his tenacity, and his humility, all of which have made him an invaluable asset to the Foundation’s growth and success.

During the second half of the evening, Foundation President Caroline Naralasetty took to the stage to thank the evening’s honorees, donors, and guests—including many Young Leader alumni—for their presence and support.

Alain Papiasse, Chairman Emeritus of the French-American Foundation—France, and Allan M. Chapin, Chairman Emeritus of the French-American Foundation—United States, were honored for their dedicated service to French-American friendship. French-American Foundation Board Member Jean-Yves Fillion, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of BNP Paribas USA, introduced Papiasse and praised his longstanding contributions to both the Foundation and the Franco-American relationship as a whole. French-American Foundation—United States Chairman Edward C. Wallace then introduced Chapin, describing his illustrious endeavors to strengthen the French-American alliance. The Foundation is deeply grateful for Papiasse and Chapin’s leadership, without which it could not stand as firmly as it does today.

The evening concluded with a champagne toast to all honorees, followed by a dessert reception and a Camus cognac tasting. Thank you to all who made this year’s Gala such an incredible success, including the Foundation’s 2024 corporate sponsors: A&O Shearman; Baker McKenzie; Bloomberg; BNP Paribas; Bully Pulpit International; CAMUS COGNAC; Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP; Debevoise & Plimpton; French-American Foundation – France; Greenberg Traurig, LLP; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Lazard; L’Oréal; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; Pfizer; Rhône Group; and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.