Macron’s American Dream
Editor’s Note: GMF is proud to count French President Emmanuel Macron among the alumni of our Marshall Memorial Fellowship program. This piece, which originally appeared in French publication Le Journal, details his experience as an MMF.
Long before he arrived at the Elysée Palace, and even before taking up his post at Bercy, France’s Ministry for the Economy and Finance, Emmanuel Macron had familiarized himself with the U.S. can-do, ‘anything is possible’ attitude.
He was eleven when Ronald Reagan left the White house and 23 at the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency. But for Emmanuel Macron, America was more than Washington’s ageing political class or even the American civilization classes, taught by leading expert Christian Monjou during Emmanuel’s years at Paris’s prestigious Lycée Henri IV. Unconvinced by John F. Kennedy’s call to “ask not what your country can do for you, rather what you can do for your country,” the young Macron preferred to devour Faulkner and savor Casablanca in black and white. However, this did not dampen his enthusiasm for the USA of his own generation. In 2006, he learned of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a program run by transatlantic organization The German Marshall Fund (GMF) and designed to help young, promising Europeans better understand American society. His application was assessed by banker Bertrand Badré, a former member of Jacques Chirac’s government, and immediately accepted.
Translated from the French by Evelyn Cavalla.