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Viewing cable 10PARIS58, EMBASSY PARIS - MINORITY ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10PARIS58 2010-01-19 09:09 2010-12-01 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Paris
VZCZCXRO1538
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHFR #0058/01 0190924
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 190924Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8075
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 PARIS 000058 

NOFORN 
SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KIRF KISL FR
SUBJECT: EMBASSY PARIS - MINORITY ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY 

REF: A. SECSTATE 127215 
B. PARIS 1714 

Classified By: Ambassador Charles H. Rivkin, Reasons 1.4(b),(d). 

1. (C/NF) SUMMARY: In keeping with France's unique history 
and circumstances, Embassy Paris has created a Minority 
Engagement Strategy that encompasses, among other groups, the 
French Muslim population and responds to the goals outlined 
in reftel A. Our aim is to engage the French population at 
all levels in order to amplify France's efforts to realize 
its own egalitarian ideals, thereby advancing U.S. national 
interests. While France is justifiably proud of its leading 
role in conceiving democratic ideals and championing human 
rights and the rule of law, French institutions have not 
proven themselves flexible enough to adjust to an 
increasingly heterodox demography. We believe that if 
France, over the long run, does not successfully increase 
opportunity and provide genuine political representation for 
its minority populations, France could become a weaker, more 
divided country, perhaps more crisis-prone and 
inward-looking, and consequently a less capable ally. To 
support French efforts to provide equal opportunity for 
minority populations, we will engage in positive discourse; 
set a strong example; implement an aggressive youth outreach 
strategy; encourage moderate voices; propagate best 
practices; and deepen our understanding of the underlying 
causes of inequality in France. We will also integrate the 
efforts of various Embassy sections, target influential 
leaders among our primary audiences, and evaluate both 
tangible and intangible indicators of the success of our 
strategy. END SUMMARY. 

--------------------------------------------- ----- 
BACKGROUND: THE CRISIS OF REPRESENTATION IN FRANCE 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 

2. (C/NF) France has long championed human rights and the 
rule of law, both at home and abroad, and justifiably 
perceives itself as a historic leader among democratic 
nations. This history and self-perception will serve us well 
as we implement the strategy outlined here, in which we press 
France toward a fuller application of the democratic values 
it espouses. This strategy is necessary because French 
institutions have not proven themselves flexible enough to 
adjust to the country's increasingly heterodox demography. 
Very few minorities hold leadership positions in France's 
public institutions. As President Sarkozy's own Diversity 
Czar Yazid Sabeg told Ambassador Rivkin in December, the 
National Assembly "serves as a mirror of the crisis of 
representation in France" (reftel B). The National Assembly, 
among its 577 deputies, has a single black member from 
metropolitan France (excluding its island territories), but 
does not have any elected representatives of Muslim or Arab 
extraction, though this minority group alone represents 
approximately 10 percent of the population. The Senate has 
two Muslim Senators (out of 343), but no black 
representatives and only a few Senators hail from other 
ethnic or religious minorities. Sabeg also noted that none 
of France's approximately 180 Ambassadors is black, and only 
one is of North African descent. Despite Sarkozy's 
appointment of leaders such as Rachida Dati, Fidela Amara and 
Rama Yade, minorities continue to confront a very thick glass 
ceiling in France's public institutions. The French media 
remains overwhelmingly white, with only modest increases in 
minority representation on camera for major news broadcasts. 
Among French elite educational institutions, we are only 
aware that Sciences Po has taken serious steps to integrate. 
While slightly better represented in private organizations, 
minorities in France lead very few corporations and 
foundations. Thus the reality of French public life defies 
the nation's egalitarian ideals. In-group, elitist politics 
still characterize French public institutions, while extreme 
right, xenophobic policies hold appeal for a small (but 
occasionally influential) minority. Post will continue to 
explore other underlying causes of the social, political and 
economic barriers impeding the advancement of minorities in 
France (see Tactic 6, below). 

3. (C/NF) France suffers consequences when its leading 
institutions fail to reflect the composition of its 
population. We believe France has not benefited fully from 
the energy, drive, and ideas of its minorities. Despite some 
French claims to serve as a model of assimilation and 
meritocracy, undeniable inequities tarnish France's global 
image and diminish its influence abroad. In our view, a 
sustained failure to increase opportunity and provide genuine 
political representation for its minority populations could 
render France a weaker, more divided country. The 
geopolitical consequences of France's weakness and division 
will adversely affect U.S. interests, as we need strong 
partners in the heart of Europe to help us promote democratic 

PARIS 00000058 002 OF 004 


values. Moreover, social exclusion has domestic consequences 
for France, including the alienation of some segments of the 
population, which can in turn adversely affect our own 
efforts to fight global networks of violent extremists. A 
thriving, inclusive French polity will help advance our 
interests in expanding democracy and increasing stability 
worldwide. 

------------------------------- 
A STRATEGY FOR FRANCE: OUR AIMS 
------------------------------- 

4. (C/NF) The overarching goal of our minority outreach 
strategy is to engage the French population at all levels in 
order to help France to realize its own egalitarian ideals. 
Our strategy has three broad target audiences in mind: (1) 
the majority, especially the elites; (2) minorities, with a 
focus on their leaders; (3) and the general population. 
Employing the seven tactics described below, we aim (1) to 
increase awareness among France's elites of the benefits of 
expanding opportunity and the costs of maintaining the status 
quo; (2) to improve the skills and grow the confidence of 
minority leaders who seek to increase their influence; (3) 
and to communicate to the general population in France that 
we particularly admire the diversity and dynamism of its 
population, while emphasizing the advantages of profiting 
from those qualities by expanding opportunities for all. 

-------------------------------------- 
TACTIC 1: ENGAGE IN POSITIVE DISCOURSE 
-------------------------------------- 

5. (C/NF) First, we will focus our discourse on the issue of 
equal opportunity. When we give public addresses about the 
community of democracies, we will emphasize, among the 
qualities of democracy, the right to be different, protection 
of minority rights, the value of equal opportunity, and the 
importance of genuine political representation. In private 
meetings, we will deliberately direct questions about equal 
opportunity in France to high-level, non-minority French 
leaders. Rather than retreating from discussions involving 
two sacred cows in France -- the concepts of "secularism" and 
"communitarianism" -- we will engage French leaders directly 
about the role that their terminology and intellectual 
frameworks could play in creating (or diminishing) equality 
of opportunity in France. We will endeavor to convey the 
costs to France of the under-representation of minorities, 
highlighting the benefits we have accumulated, over time, by 
working hard to chip away at the various impediments faced by 
American minorities. We will, of course, continue to adopt a 
humble attitude regarding our own situation in the U.S., but 
nevertheless will stress the innumerable benefits accruing 
from a proactive approach to broad social inclusion, 
complementing our French partners on any positive steps they 
take. In addition, we will continue and intensify our work 
with French museums and educators to reform the history 
curriculum taught in French schools, so that it takes into 
account the role and perspectives of minorities in French 
history. 

------------------------------ 
TACTIC 2: SET A STRONG EXAMPLE 
------------------------------ 

6. (C/NF) Second, we will employ the tool of example. We 
will continue and expand our efforts to bring minority 
leaders from the U.S. to France, working with these American 
leaders to convey an honest sense of their experience to 
French minority and non-minority leaders alike. When we send 
French leaders to America, we will include, as often as 
possible, a component of their trip that focuses on equal 
opportunity. In the Embassy, we will continue to invite a 
broad spectrum of French society to our events, and avoid, as 
appropriate, hosting white-only events, or minority-only 
events. We will be inclusive, working in this way to break 
down barriers, facilitate communication, and expand networks. 
By bringing together groups who would not otherwise interact 
together, the Embassy will continue to use its cachet to 
create networking opportunities that cut through traditional 
cultural and social barriers in France. 

------------------------------------------ 
TACTIC 3: LAUNCH AGGRESSIVE YOUTH OUTREACH 
------------------------------------------ 

7. (C/NF) Third, we will continue and expand our youth 
outreach efforts in order to communicate about our shared 
values with young French audiences of all socio-cultural 
backgrounds. Leading the charge on this effort, the 
Ambassador's inter-agency Youth Outreach Initiative aims to 
engender a positive dynamic among French youth that leads to 
greater support for U.S. objectives and values. Some 

PARIS 00000058 003 OF 004 


elements of our Youth Outreach Initiative have particular 
importance for minorities, including: 

-- Drawing heavily on new media, we aim first to build trust 
and gain understanding among French youth from diverse 
backgrounds. 

-- While reinforcing mutual trust and understanding, we seek 
to help France's next generation improve their capacity to 
lead in their communities, while also conveying the 
importance of transcending the bounds of their own 
communities in order to make a broader, national impact. 

-- To achieve these aims, we will build on the expansive 
Public Diplomacy programs already in place at post, and 
develop creative, additional means to influence the youth of 
France, employing new media, corporate partnerships, 
nationwide competitions, targeted outreach events, especially 
invited U.S. guests. 

-- We will also develop new tools to identify, learn from, 
and influence future French leaders. 

-- As we expand training and exchange opportunities for the 
youth of France, we will continue to make absolutely certain 
that the exchanges we support are inclusive. 

-- We will build on existing youth networks in France, and 
create new ones in cyberspace, connecting France's future 
leaders to each other in a forum whose values we help to 
shape -- values of inclusion, mutual respect, and open 
dialogue. 

---------------------------------- 
TACTC 4: ENCOURAGE MODERATE VOICES 
---------------------------------- 

8. (C/NF) Fourth, we will encourage moderate voices of 
tolerance to express themselves with courage and conviction. 
Building on our work with two prominent websites geared 
toward young French-speaking Muslims -- oumma.fr and 
saphirnews.com -- we will support, train, and engage media 
and political activists who share our values. As we continue 
to meet with moderate leaders of minority groups, we will 
also expand our efforts to facilitate grass roots inter-faith 
exchanges. We will share in France, with faith communities 
and with the Ministry of the Interior, the most effective 
techniques for teaching tolerance currently employed in 
American mosques, synagogues, churches, and other religious 
institutions. We will engage directly with the Ministry of 
Interior to compare U.S. and French approaches to supporting 
minority leaders who seek moderation and mutual 
understanding, while also comparing our responses to those 
who seek to sow hatred and discord. 

--------------------------------- 
TACTC 5: PROPAGATE BEST PRACTICES 
--------------------------------- 

9. (C/NF) Fifth, we will continue our project of sharing 
best practices with young leaders in all fields, including 
young political leaders of all moderate parties so that they 
have the toolkits and mentoring to move ahead. We will 
create or support training and exchange programs that teach 
the enduring value of broad inclusion to schools, civil 
society groups, bloggers, political advisors, and local 
politicians. Through outreach programs, Embassy officers 
from all sections will interact and communicate to these same 
groups our best practices in creating equal opportunities for 
all Americans. We will also provide tools for teaching 
tolerance to the network of over 1,000 American university 
students who teach English in French schools every year. 

--------------------------------------------- ---- 
TACTIC 6: DEEPEN OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROBLEM 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 

10. (C/NF) Sixth, through focused contact work, reporting 
and analysis, we will deepen the USG understanding of the 
underlying causes of inequality and discrimination in France. 
We will break new ground by examining how the very structure 
of some French institutions may limit minority representation 
in elected office and the high ranks of the civil service. 
Examining significant developments in depth, such as the 
debate on national identity (reftel B), we plan to track 
trends and, ideally, predict change in the status of 
minorities in France, estimating how this change will impact 
U.S. interests. As our awareness expands and deepens, we 
will adjust, accordingly, the minority outreach strategy 
described here. 

--------------------------------------------- -------- 

PARIS 00000058 004 OF 004 


TACTIC 7: INTEGRATE, TARGET, AND EVALUATE OUR EFFORTS 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 

11. (C/NF) Finally, a Minority Working Group will integrate 
the discourse, actions, and analysis of relevant sections and 
agencies in the Embassy. This group, working in tandem with 
the Youth Outreach Initiative, will identify and target 
influential leaders and groups among our primary audiences. 
It will also evaluate our impact over the course of the year, 
by examining both tangible and intangible indicators of 
success. Tangible changes include a measurable increase in 
the number of minorities leading and participating in public 
and private organizations, including elite educational 
institutions; growth in the number of constructive efforts by 
minority leaders to organize political support both within 
and beyond their own minority communities; new, proactive 
policies to enhance social inclusion adopted by non-minority 
political leaders; expansion of inter-communal and 
inter-faith exchanges at the local level; decrease in popular 
support for xenophobic political parties and platforms. 
While we could never claim credit for these positive 
developments, we will focus our efforts in carrying out 
activities, described above, that prod, urge and stimulate 
movement in the right direction. In addition, we will track 
intangible measures of success -- a growing sense of 
belonging, for example, among young French minorities, and a 
burgeoning hope that they, too, can represent their country 
at home, and abroad, even one day at the pinnacle of French 
public life, as president of the Republic. 
RIVKIN