Portrait : Diane Kelly our American Consul General in Marseille for the South East of France
Audio version : www.lesun.fr/AUDIO/kelly.mp3
When Diane Kelly ﬁrst stepped off the TGV in Marseille in early summer 2011 to take up her position as U.S. Consul General and Principal Ofﬁcer in Marseille, she felt an overwhelming sense of belonging and she knew at once that she was on the brink of a unique and breathtaking experience.
"I am always willing to hear of any new projects and ideas from both the American and French communities"
Kelly is no novice to adapting to new cultures and languages. With a degree in philosophy and politics from Georgetown, a journalist qualiﬁcation from the American University in Washington DC and a masters in International Strategic Studies from the National War College in Washington DC, she has held positions in Hong Kong, Tunisia, Egypt, in the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai as well as working on key countries and projects back in Washington DC.
The Consulate in Marseille covers the whole of the southern part of France from the Spanish to the Italian border, including Corisca and Monaco and responds to the needs and problems of American citizens who are visiting and living in the area. Kelly is keen to input some of her own convictions and beliefs into her role as Consul General. She feels there is a lot of curiosity regarding American culture in France and by promoting cultural exchange a better understanding and tolerance of each other can be gained.
Youth is one of her key areas of interest and the Consul General has been very active in promoting local projects involving young people from diverse backgrounds through sports or through the exciting 'Young Ambassadors' programme. This initiative involves the selection of local young people who have shown a good sense of citizenship in their communities. The ambassadors are sent to America on a mission to meet and dialogue with young Americans. "It’s all about understanding each other’s culture," explains Kelly '"and it is very gratifying to note the change in self conﬁdence these gratifying to note the change iyoung people have when they return to France."
Kelly also has a keen interest in womens' issues having worked for Secretary Hillary Clinton in Washington on Muslim womens' issues. She explains, "to make a country strong, we need to build up the strength of its women and hear their views." Her past experiences have exposed her to the continuing plight of women, their strengths, and has shown her that, even in the most difﬁcult situations, women share the clear determination to have their voices heard. "I would like to continue my work on women's issues here in France because, even though we are living in a democracy, there is always something to be done whether internally, or working with women in other countries."
When asked about the rewards and challenges of her role here in Marseille, Kelly replies with a laugh, "my French for a start, it needs a little reﬁnement! I am very lucky to work with a great staff. I meet fascinating people and learn new things every day. The South of France has a wonderfully rich and varied In her aim to bring American policy and culture to this part of France, Kelly would like to reach out even more into the community, "I am always willing to hear of any new projects and ideas from both culture which I am enjoying discovering."
In her aim to bring American policy and culture to this part of France, Kelly would like to reach out even more into the community, "I am always willing to hear of any new projects and ideas from both projects and ideasthe American and French communities."
Place Varian Fry
13286 Marseille Cedex 6
04 91 54 92 00
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