January 22, 2003
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing Gives Second Annual Kissinger Lecture at Library of Congress on Feb. 11
His Topic Is "The Preparation of the European Constitution"
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, president of the Convention on the Future of Europe, will deliver the 2002 Kissinger Lecture on "The Preparation of the European Constitution" at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress' Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The lecture is free and open to the public, but space is limited. No tickets are required.
The lecture will be broadcast live on the Library's Web site at www.loc.gov/loc/kluge/fellowships/lectures-destaing.html. After Feb. 11, the Web cast of the lecture will be featured on the Library's home page (www.loc.gov, under "News and Events") and will be directly accessible at www.loc.gov/today.
Born on Feb. 2, 1926, Giscard d'Estaing served as a young man in the French Resistance during World War II; at the age of 18 he enlisted in the French Army. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre for his participation in campaigns through the end of World War II. After completing his studies at the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole Nationale d'Administration, Giscard d'Estaing joined the Inspection Générale des Finances in 1952. In 1956 he was elected as a deputy to the French National Assembly from Puy-de-Dôme; he was reelected four times and served until 1974. He served as minister of finance and economic affairs under President Charles de Gaulle from 1962 to 1966, and as minister of economy and finance under President Georges Pompidou from 1969 to 1974.
Giscard d'Estaing was elected president of France on May 19, 1974, at the age of 48. During his term of office, until 1981, he played a key role in several crucial international initiatives, including the establishment of the European Council, the election by universal suffrage of the European Parliament, the creation of the European monetary system (a project presented jointly by France and Germany in 1978), and the inauguration of world summits of chiefs of state and heads of governments of the principal industrialized democracies. The first summit was held at Rambouillet, France, in 1975. After he left the presidency, Giscard d'Estaing was again elected to the National Assembly from Puy-de-Dôme and served from 1984-1989; he was reelected in 1993 and 1997.
Elected as a deputy to the European Parliament in 1989, Giscard d'Estaing served in that capacity until 1993. In October 1997, he was elected president of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions and reelected in 2001. In December 2001, the European Council appointed him president of the Convention on the Future of Europe.
Giscard d'Estaing is also the author of several books, including "Démocratie français" (1976), "Deux Français sur trois" (1984), "Le pouvoir et la vie" (1988), "L'Affrontement" (1991), "Dans cinq ans, l'an 2000" (1995), and in 2000, "Réflexions sur le destin d'un peuple."
The establishment of the Henry Alfred Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress in 1999 created an endowment to provide for a Kissinger Scholar and a Kissinger Lecturer. The Kissinger Scholar, a distinguished senior researcher chosen annually through an open international competition, spends a research period of ten months at the Library of Congress. The current scholar is Klaus Larres of Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The Kissinger Lecturer, chosen annually by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, may be of any nationality and is an individual who has achieved distinction in the field of foreign affairs. The inaugural Kissinger Lecture was delivered in October 2001 by Henry Kissinger himself and has been published in a booklet titled "Reflections: October 2001." Copies are available free of charge from the Library's Office of Scholarly Programs, (202) 707-3302.
# # #