July 6, 2021
On July 1, 2021, the French-American Foundation staff and Young Leaders were welcomed to Ellis Island for the inauguration of Lady Liberty’s “Little Sister”.
The statue left France on June 23 on the CMA CGM NERVAL containership. She took the same route as the original statue — traveling from Le Havre, France in 1884 — representing a journey that is symbolic of the friendship between the two countries. The 9.5-foot tall bronze statue, cast from the original 1878 plaster mold by Auguste Bartholdi, sculptor of the original Lady Liberty, was previously on display at Paris’s Musée des Arts et Métiers. The latest Lady Liberty was on display on Ellis Island from July 1-6 in celebration of Independence Day, and is soon to be transported to Washington, DC for French National Day on July 14 (Bastille Day).
Prior to the celebratory champagne toast and unveiling of the statue, a ceremony was hosted by the French Embassy of France in the U.S., the Consulate General of France in New York, the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (Cnam), and the CMA CGM Group. Following addresses delivered by the French Ambassador Philippe Étienne and Consul General Jérémie Robert, Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner for International Affairs for New York City and 2017 Young Leader, spoke to NYC’s values of diversity and rich heritage of immigration. French Ambassador Philippe Étienne drew attention to the significance of this newest emblematic treasure in saying, “it’s more important than ever to underline how our democracies need to work together, with our common values, including everything which is symbolized by these statues – freedom, but also equal opportunities for all our citizens.”