Lecture

The Great War in Broad Outlines | 3/6 – 4/30/2017


The Great War in Broad Outlines, a traveling exhibition commemorating World War I and honoring the centennial anniversary of the U.S. entry into the War, opens in Atlanta on March 6, 2017 at Atlanta History Center | 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30305.    Told in more than 30 panels, the exhibition chronicles many events including the efforts of Herbert Hoover, as head of the U.S. Food Administration, in providing humanitarian relief to those starving in wartime Belgium.

The Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has selected Atlanta as the only Southeastern  venue to host the exhibition that honors the human sacrifice of more than 116,000 U.S. military in the “war to end all wars.”

This exhibition has been produced by the Belgian National Institute for Veterans and Victims of War and sponsored by the Consulate General of Belgium in Atlanta,  Honorary Consulate of Belgium in Miami and UPS.  Co-sponsored by the European and Eurasian Studies Program, Miami-Florida Jean Monnet Center of Excellence, Department of History Department of Politics and International Relations and Honors College.

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harvest of war



Harvest of war” is the latest book by Florida-based Belgian author Jan Smolders. I had the pleasure to meet Jan during his recent book presentation. Soberly dressed all in black, totally contrasting with his white hair, his piercing eyes and sparkling smile illuminated the room.  He is very jovial and you can only imagine him as a little boy as ‘een echte kapoen‘.

His 7th book takes place in his hometown of Ramsel and while, non fiction, the story is mostly based on historical facts related to the end of World War II when the village is still under Nazi occupation.  In the summer of 1944, Jan was a 5-year old boy who still today recalls many of these events described in his book… one of the main characters is Dr Van Dam, based on his own doctor who treated him when he contracted polio at the age of 6.  Together they braved the illness… allowing Jan to run 23 marathons!

Having left the corporate world [Bekaert & Lockheed] and toured most of the world,  Jan and his wife Lut are now living in Boca Raton, FL where he turned into a writer 5 years ago.

His other books: Viral Games,The Bridge of Whispers, The Convenient Fund, Ripping the Veil, Tennessee Tremors, Alone in Boca Raton are either thrillers or related to corporate devious manoeuvering. His eight book is ready to be published and #9 is in his mind …

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Economic Mission overview


Atlanta was busy a couple of weeks ago (4-7 Oct) … an abundance of Belgians [and Dutch citizens] flooded our Jackson International Airport for a three-day trade and economic mission.  A combo of 85 Flanders-Dutch companies represented by 142 humans (of which 27 Flemish companies – 39 people) made the trip to seek opportunities, interested in learning strategies, and to participate in seminars and various panels.  Many visits to local companies were also on the schedule: Coca-Cola, Delta, Graphic Packaging, Infor, Interface, ICE (Intercontinental Exchange), Mohawk, Barco, Bekaert, and UPS to just name a few. Even if the goal of the trip was purely business, the atmosphere was jovial [although at some occasions one had to be dead-serious] and the feedback was super enthusiastic.  Of course, we are ‘the next Silicon Valley“!

At the head of the crowd, our Flemish Minister-President Geert Bourgeois and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte teamed up as a perfect pair.  Mr. Bourgeois was accompanied by Pascal Walrave, Advisor Foreign Policy, Benjamin Muylaert, his Spokesperson and was greeted upon arrival [or soon after] by Belgian Ambassador to the United States, Johan Verbeke, Claire Tillekaerts, CEO Flanders Investment & Trade, Geert De Proost, General Representative of the Government of Flanders to the U.S., Consul General of Belgium in Atlanta, Genevieve Verbeek, and Investment & Trade Commissioner, Wim Van Cauteren.

Journalists from Het Nieuwsblad, Belga and VRT were covering the ‘story’, following the two Gentlemen like their shadow … Other news organs published articles too … Read moremore and more.

Here is my version of the facts … Feel free to like, comment and forward this blog post!  Would be good to hear from you…

Monday 5 – There was no better way – except for the weather – to start the busy schedule with a visit to the The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center site.  Escorted by Ambassador Andrew Young, our Flemish Minister-President Geert Bourgeois and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte were welcomed by Dr. Bernice A. King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Chief Executive Officer of the center. For the occasion, below the United States flag, The Netherlands and Flanders colors were flying proudly, making it all very official.   The group strolled down ‘Freedom Walkway’ and paid homage to the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by laying a wreath at the King’s memorial. During the event, the Econ-Mission was also greeted by a group of 40 children from the Flemish-Dutch school The Molenwiek. Three paragraphs from  of Annie MG Schmidt ‘s Avonds laat were read by Cezanne, Xue-Ann and the final part was read by the 9-year old Amelie from Dessel (Belgium) …  Her typical accent put a bright smile on Mr. Bourgeois’ face.  Our officials took some time to chat with the children. – Thank you beATLe Petra for the info.  Read more and more.

The long day came to an end with an informal BBQ and an official kick-off at Mission’s hotel, the InterContinental Buckhead.

Tuesday 6 – Early start …. A 7.30 am-breakfast at the Hotel Intercontinental with a brochette of Dutch and Flemish entrepreneurs. The goal was for the MPs – who were welcomed by Ambassador Schuwer – to get a good look and feel of the business environment of Atlanta, its climate and the interface with the Dutch and Flemish governments.   Among the panel, you will recognize our local Belgians (and beATL-fans): Stephan de Mulder (Aluvision), Geert Beerens (Delta Engineering), Brigitte Pelleman (Unibind),  Franky Oorreel (Boplan) and Timothy  Steleman (Delaware Consulting). Claire Tillekaerts from FIT (Flanders Investment and Trade) closed the session at 9 am.

They joined “The Internet of Finance, Innovation in Financial Services and Cyber Security” seminar where Johan Hermans from CSI Tools (Herent, BE) spoke about big data analytics and crime detection/prevention.

They ended up their morning attending a closed roundtable ‘The Role of Flagship Companies & Incubators in Succesful Knowledge Regions’ before heading to The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce where Industry leaders, experts and policymakers from The Netherlands, Flanders and Georgia [including Piet Demunter, Director Strategic Development at Brussels Airport Company] discussed the latest trends in Multi-modal Transport Corridors and Last mile logistics during the conference ‘Innovations in Gateway Logistics – The Georgia and Netherlands/Flanders Experience’.

A well deserved digestive stroll through Centennial Park with representatives from the Atlanta Board of Tourism was led by Joe Skopitz, before being dropped off at the Coca Cola‘s Headquarters where they met with Clyde Tuggle, Senior VP and Chief Public Affairs, and Scott Figura, Global Director of Productivity.  Their first stop was the Board Room before enjoying more meetings on supply chain management and smart logistics.  After the serious part, most were’temporarily held up’ in the gift shop … the fabulous polar bear was the #1 purchase and was carried off, nicely tucked away in the recognizable red and white plastic bags.

They spent their mid-afternoon with Governor  Nathan Deal and the First Lady at a Remembrance Ceremony at the North Wing of Georgia Capitol.  Wreaths were laid at the World War I and World War II memorials in honor of Georgians who fought during those wars. The Prime Minister and Minister-President also honored the Georgians who fought alongside Dutch and Belgian troops in recent wars in Korea, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Dinner time!  All to the Atlanta History Center for a huge reception followed by a formal dinner hosted by Mayor Kasim Reed.   The event started with a signing ceremony to solidify new partnerships between the City of Atlanta and the Netherlands-Flanders Delta region. The 300-crowd were split among 29 round tables and served a 3-course menu. Read more and more.

Wednesday 7  – A serious start with a seminar at the Federal Reserve Bank Atlanta: ‘The Impact of Emerging Technologies & Cyber Security on the Financial Services Industry‘ where our VIP’s met with Dennis Lockhart, President and CEO, and signed a memorandum of understanding to share information in the area of financial services.

After lunch, the Flemish and the Dutch split up for the remainder of the day.  Mr. Bourgeois drove to Rome to attend the re-opening of the Bekaert plant which had suffered from a major fire last year.

Beating the heavy traffic, the Bourgeois-convoy reached its final destination of its mission:  Aluvision in Duluth. The Flemish company from Deinze officially inaugurated its US headquarters where Mr Bourgeois deftly handled the scissors and cut the red ribbon. It was very important to Mr. Bourgeois to show his support, since he was the one who personally handed the owners, Ann Vancoillie and Dirk Deleu, the ‘Export Lion‘  2015 [the annual prize awarded by Flanders Investment & Trade to Flemish companies that achieved most success in terms of export during the previous year].  Read more and more.

In the late evening, Mr. Bourgeois jumped on his plane to fly back to Belgium via Amsterdam. Thus came the short, fruitful, exciting and exhausting visit – well organized by Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) and Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO) – to an end.

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BACoS | 2016 Economic Outlook – 10/23/2015


BACoS, the Belgian American Chamber of the South, has invited Dr. Rajeev Dhawan, Professor at Georgia State University and Director of the Economic Forecasting Center, to share his outlook on the economy for 2016.  During his presentation, Dr. Dhawan will be talking about the economic outlook in Georgia, the United States and the world for the coming year.

Some of you already met Dr. Dhawan in January 2014 when he presented his visions for 2015 during a BACoS event. Surely you remember his dynamism and zeste of humour despite the seriousness of the topic.  A great speaker to listen to.

Logistics:

  • When: Friday, October 23, 2015 from 6.30 to 9.00 pm.
  • Where: Burr & Forman LLC | 171 17th Street, 10th floor, Atlanta, GA 30363
  • Parking: in the parking garage under the building; tickets will be validated.
  • Admission: Members: $35.00  | Non-Members: $50.00. Register on the BACoS website.

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3-day economic mission – 10/4-7/2015


Many of you are aware of the imminent arrival of our Flemish Minister-President Geert Bourgeois.  Mr. Bourgeois and the Dutch Prime-Minister Mark Rutte will lead a three-day economic mission, here in Atlanta. During their stay, they will be accompanied by a business delegation consisting of 85 senior level and leadership representatives as well as technology experts of large (internationally active) companies and banks, innovative start-ups, knowledge institutes and government agencies from both the Netherlands and Flanders.   Close to 30 of those businesses are coming from Flanders!

This visit marks the second time [Houston, TX in 2013] that leaders of the Dutch and Flemish governments have visited the United States on a joint economic mission but a première for Atlanta!  The U.S. is for both The Netherlands and Flanders a very important economic partner.

This joint economic mission will focus on smart logistics, financial technology, and cybersecurity. Prime Minister Rutte and Minister-President Bourgeois will meet with Governor Nathan Deal, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Ambassador Andrew Young, President Dennis Lockhart of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and representatives from the business community, including Bekaert, Coca-Cola, Dell, UPS, Aluvision, the Chambers of Commerce and … beATL-fans.

Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) and its Dutch counterpart played a crucial role in the organization of this intercontinental adventure.

Picture credit to csi-tools

Vesalius is 500 – 3/5/2015


Please join the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library and the Atlanta Belgian Consulate in celebrating the 500th birthday of anatomist and physician Andreas Vesalius.  This event will be held in the Emory University School of Medicine’s Williams Medical Education Building, Lecture Auditorium Room 120, from 12-2:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, 2015.

The program will begin with lunch at noon across from the lecture room, followed at 12:30 p.m. by opening remarks from Emory faculty member Dr. Robert Gaynes and two lectures by special guests:  Theo Dirix, author of “In Search of Andreas Vesalius: The Quest for the Lost Grave” and Pascale Pollier, biomedical artist sculpting life-size reconstruction of Vesalius which will be cast in bronze and placed on display on Zakynthos Island in Greece, where the famed anatomist died.

On display at the event will be Emory’s 1543 copy of “De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem” by Vesalius, one of history’s most influential books on human anatomy, as well as the two-volume annotated translation of that work, “The Fabric of the Human Body,” produced by Karger Publishers in 2014.

The program is in conjunction with the Fabrica Vitae touring exhibition that supports the new book, which is taking place primarily in Europe but also includes a stop at Saint Louis University.

Click here for details.

De humani corporis fabrica