Five days before the U.S. Presidential election, CETS co-director, Prof. Birchfield, in residence at GT’s European campus, Georgia Tech Lorraine, organized a program with French-American author, Henri Landes, whose recently published book “Allo Houston” is getting a lot of press in France*. Henri Landes is Maître de conférences at Sciences Po, Paris and a former Energy and Climate Policy Advisor to the President of the National Assembly (2014-2016). He also co-founded and served as past President of CliMates, a student based “think and do” tank for research and mobilization around climate change and sustainable development. The two-part program was titled “Understanding the U.S. Presidential Election and American Politics and Society Today: A French-American Dialogue.”
The subtitle had a double meaning, referring both to the author’s dual nationality (French Mother, American Father, grew up and was educated in the States; a resident of France for the past seven years) and an enriching conversation among French and American students, faculty as well as local residents of Metz. The first part took place on the GTL campus where Henri delivered his talk in English followed by another discussion (in French) and book signing at a local bookshop in town, Hisler-Even, independently owned for more than 100 years! Henri’ s book explores the structural problems in American electoral politics and explains the surprising popularity and success of Trump and Sanders, while putting Clinton’s challenges in both sociological and political terms. The author accentuated the backlash against economic globalization similar to what we witnessed with Brexit coupled with the past three decades of what he called the erosion of the American dream. In the spirit of the venerable and long history of French-American friendship, mutual observation and influence, Landes makes a passionate plea for his compatriots on both sides of theAtlantic to “wake up” and reform their models of society in the interest of a more sustainable and just world. It was a timely and lively
discussion that reflected well the common mission of GTL and CETS to promote knowledge and understanding between Europe and the United States.
*For a sampling of interviews with the author on French national television, see: https://youtu.be/AS809qCsEZc; http://bfmbusiness.bfmtv.com/mediaplayer/video/la-parole-aux-auteurs-olivier-piton-et-henri-landes-1410-876497.html and http://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/usa/presidentielle/hillary-clinton/etats-unis-la-catastrophe-trump-face-a-la-corruption-clinton_1906257.html