Chairman Patrick Pagni Receives Insignia of Officer of the Legion of Honor

April 12, 2017 | By French Culture

New York, April 11, 2017 – Patrick Pagni, influential businessman, leading patron of the arts, and dedicated advocate for French culture in the United States, was awarded the insignia of Officer of the Legion of Honor by French Ambassador to the U.S. Gérard Araud on Tuesday, April 11th, in a ceremony held at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York.

A Chevalier of the Legion of Honor and of the National Order of Merit, Mr. Pagni received this third distinction, Officer of the Legion of Honor, in recognition of his longstanding efforts to strengthen economic, educational and cultural ties between France and the United States.

Mr. Pagni made his mark in the field of international finance over the course of an illustrious career at Société Générale, one of France’s oldest and largest banks, where he served for over 30 years and where he made the global expansion the French bank a priority, going on to lead operations in  Hong Kong & Mainland China, the UK, and the US. 

In the past decade, Mr. Pagni has turned his attention, and impressive skills, towards issues of cultural exchange and innovation. In 2007 he became a member of the board of FACE Foundation, partner foundation of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy to the United States, and in 2015 he became Chairman of its Board of Trustees. 

Under his supervision, the FACE Foundation has recognized exceptional French works translated and published in the US through the French Voices Award; exposed thousands of American college students and film buffs to the best of French cinema through the Tournées Film Festival and Films on the Green; welcomed cutting-edge French dance and theater productions to US venues through the prestigious FUSED and  Etant Données Funds and the French-American Fund for Contemporary Theater; and fostered transatlantic collaboration between leading musicians through the French-American Jazz Exchange fellowship program.

Mr. Pagni has also been actively involved in FACE’s education initiatives, including the Partner University Fund, which was established in 2007 to support collaborative research  between French and American higher education institutions. Through the French Heritage Language Program, which helps Francophone immigrants continue learning their language in the US, and the French Dual Language Program, which currently serves approximately 1,300 children from pre-K through high school in 11 public school programs, Mr. Pagni and FACE are working to expand the availability of high-quality bilingual education in public schools across New York City and the country.  The foundation has also just launched a new Bilingual Fund that aims to further bilingual education programs in schools across the United States, as well as the Thomas Jefferson Fund, that supports French-American research projects.  

Mr. Pagni's work to support French-American exchange in culture, education and business extend even beyond his extensive work with FACE. In his role as a US Ambassador for the Dauphine University Foundation, Mr. Pagni has helped the University Paris Dauphine IX expand and support research abroad.  He was also on the Board of the French-American Chamber of Commerce in New York from 2007-2011. Through these activities, he has contributed to strengthening the reputation and global reach of France’s leading companies and institutions.

The Order of the Legion of Honor is the highest award bestowed by the French government. Founded by Napoleon Bonaparte to recognize outstanding achievement in the military as well as in the public and private sectors, the award recognizes those who have rendered over twenty years of eminent service to France or, more broadly, it commends persons whose achievements uphold France’s ideals. American honorees include John Ashbery, Renée Fleming, Barbra Streisand, and the late Elie Wiesel, as well as hundreds of World War II veterans.

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, digital innovation, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, intellectuals and innovators to cities nationwide. It also builds partnerships between French and American artists, institutions and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop Albertine, it fosters French-American exchange around literature and the arts. www.frenchculture.org

FACE Foundation is an American non-profit organization dedicated to cultural and educational exchanges between France and the United States. In collaboration with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, FACE supports distribution and creation in the fields of cinema, the visual arts, theater, dance, music, and literature. It also encouraged partnerships in education and research. face-foundation.org

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