Policy breakfast with Former French Ambassador Gérard Araud

April 20, 2022

On April 6, 2022, the French-American Foundation was honored to welcome Gérard Araud, Former Ambassador of France to the United States and France’s Former Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York to discuss the war between Russia and Ukraine and the French presidential elections. The discussion and Q&A were moderated by Christian Loubeau, U.S. Diplomat and Manager of International Operations at the Ford Foundation and 2020 Young Leader with the Foundation.

Mr. Araud opened his remarks by providing historical context on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, reminding the audience that the conflict represents the first war in Europe since 1945, and therefore fear of a larger armed conflict in Europe as well as economic consequences are widespread among European populations. Mr. Araud shared his views on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s response to the war, Vladimir Putin’s motivations, China’s stance, as well as insight into European and American reactions.

Mr. Araud added insightful remarks on diplomatic methods and negotiation patterns employed by different counterparts of the conflict, acknowledging the specificity of each country’s implications, and emphasized that diplomatic dialogue and discussions are imperative in finding reaching a resolution. In response to questions from the audience, he commented on different possibilities for resolving the crisis given countries’ expectations and interests.

The discussion then shifted towards the French Presidential election, wherein Mr. Araud analyzed the impact that the conflict has had on French election trends and candidates’ polls. He also drew comparisons between the republican and democratic parties in the U.S. and the far-right, center, and left movements in the French political landscape.

The Policy Breakfast initiative is one of the French-American Foundation’s key programs that bring together leaders from various fields to discuss topics of economic, social, and political importance with a guest of honor. Participants include 20 to 30 high-profile individuals, such as finance professionals, government experts, philanthropists, and Young Leaders of the Foundation. Breakfasts typically start at 8:30 AM and last roughly one hour, during which the guests of honor share their views on specific topics, followed by questions and remarks by the participants. For more information, click here.