Dallas Dijon Sister Cities
1957 – 2020+
The sister city relationship between Dallas and Dijon, France, was formalized 13 months after President Eisenhower announced his Sister Cities Initiative. Dijon is Dallas’ first of six sister cities. Documents indicate that Mr. Stanley Marcus was instrumental in initiating this important rapport between Dijon and Dallas during Dallas’ Mayor Robert Lee Thornton’s term. The formal twinning ceremony’s luncheon was held at the Stadler (Hilton) Hotel in downtown Dallas in conjunction with Neiman Marcus’s first Fortnight extravaganza, one of several that featured France. World Affairs Council’s Dallas Chapter co-hosted luncheon, which was attended by many dignitaries from France, including Dijon’s Deputy Mayor, Canon Felix Kir, and French Ambassador, His Excellency Hervé Alphand. Cultural events occurred throughout Dallas to honor the twinning and Fortnight’s France theme.
The Texas Chapter of Confrèrie des Chevaliers du Tastevin (of Burgundy) hosted their first dinner in Dallas.
A delegation of 6-8 people from Dijon traveled to Dallas to attend the Neiman Marcus Fortnight’s Grand Opening. The delegation included dignitaries from the City of Dijon, the Duke and Duchess of Paris and Yves St Laurent. They toured the State Fair and stood on the 50 yard line of the Texas OU football game during its opening ceremony. According to the D Magazine article below, 1977 was the last French Fortnight.
An official delegation from Dijon, comprised of Deputy Mayor Christina Brain, Deputy Mayor Michael Lallemand and his spouse, visited Dallas in conjunction with the opening of the Wendy and Emery Reves Wing of the Dallas Museum of Art. They paid courtesy visits to Mayor Starke Taylor and Councilman Jerry Rucker. In addition, the Dijon delegation attended the Mayor’s dinner in honor of Mrs. Wendy Reves.
Mayor Pro Tem John Evans hosted a luncheon in honor of Mr. Louis-Marc Chevignard, Deputy Mayor in charge of international relations and sister cities. Mr. and Mrs. Chevignard visited Dallas on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the French Republic. Mr. Evans presented Mr. Chevignard with a key to the city and honorary citizenship certificates to both.
J.R. Bullington, Director of International Affairs, hosted a luncheon in honor of Deputy Mayor Louis-Marc Chevignard. Guests included representatives of the D/FW Consular Corps and French Trade Office. Mr. Bullington presented the guest of honor with a bolo tie. A tour of the Meyerson Symphony Center followed the luncheon.
A group of thirty (30) students from Dijon visited Dallas City Hall. They were welcomed in French by Dallas’ Director of International Affairs and Ambassador Bullington, who provided background information about Dallas. They received honorary citizenship certificates and mementos to commemorate their visit. In addition, they were provided a tour of the facility prior to their departure.
An educational exchange took place between McCullough Middle School in the Highland Park Independent School District and Marcelle Parde Middle School in Dijon.
The Dallas/Dijon Sister City Committee hosted the Dijon Exhibit: A Look at our Sister City in France. The cultural exchange was held in the Great Court at Dallas City Hall and featured eleven (11) large panels with photographs and text on the Burgundy region and Dijon. Traditional Burgundian costumes were also displayed.
University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), under the direction of Professor Hervé Abdi, Ph.D., who was a professor at University of Bourgogne in 1983 and 1988, conducted a study with students at UTD and University of Bourgogne (in Dijon) that was published in Current Psychology Letters about the relationship between language and cognition.
The Dallas Museum of Art, a member of FRAME (French Regional and American Museum Exchange) organized the exhibition The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from The Court of Burgundy, the display of some eighty unique 14th century sculptures of monks made of alabaster, standing just over a foot tall. This exhibit was recognized as one of the best exhibits in France. It opened in 2009 at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and traveled to six American cities, Bruges, Berlin and Paris, before returning to Dijon in 2011. The Mourners had not left the city since the fourteenth century. Dijon organized an event to bid them goodbye when they left and sent a delegation of over 80 representatives, including musicians and chefs to the opening celebrations in New York and Dallas. The chefs prepared special opening dinners and receptions at the DMA thanks to the support of the Fairmont Hotel’s kitchen and staff and held a cooking demonstration at the State Fair. Dr. Richard R. Brettell, at the University of Texas at Dallas, with Dr. Bonnie Wheeler and Dr. Jeremy Adams at Southern Methodist University organized a seminar Majesty, Memory and Mourning in the Late Middle Ages in the Fall of 2010 and invited several specialists of that period including Mme Sophie Jugie, Director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. The classes were held in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art and attended by students from both universities. Public access to the classes contributed to the exhibition’s success in Dallas. The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy, brought awareness of the treasures of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon to Dallas and throughout.
The Dallas Chapter of the French Heritage Society made a grant to support an important project of French patrimony located in Burgundy, the Abbaye de Reigny. It is an architecturally significant 12th century Cistercian abbey, where this Christian monastic order has its roots. The grant was significant to Dallas because Dallas/Irving is the home of Our Lady of Dallas, which was established in Feb 1955 and is the only common observance Cistercian abbey in the United States.
Southern Methodist University (SMU) Meadows School of the Arts began a student exchange program and exhibits with graduate art students (MFA) at SMU and Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art et de Design (ENSA) in Dijon. These events were organized through FRAME in conjunction with FRAC (French Regional Collections of Contemporary Art) under the leadership of Michael Corris, Ph.D., professor at SMU Meadows School of the Arts.
The Dallas Chapter of the French Heritage Society gave a grant to the Château de Morlet in Burgundy in honor of Richard Brettell, PhD, the founding director of FRAME (French Regional American Museum Exchange). Dr. Brettell’s first major exhibit for FRAME, The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy, brought the awareness of the treasures of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon to an appreciative population in the United States.
July 1- 25
Exhibition DALLAS/Big D at Musée de l’Arquebuse was held in Dijon. It was organized by ArchiDB and Sebastien Godret, a photographer from Dijon who traveled to Dallas to learn about the city. Sebastien shared his perspective of Dallas, which seemed sparsely populated compared to European cities and a pleasant place to live. For him, this begged the question of a new dogma in France, urban densification. Both models have their advantages and disadvantages. The exhibit treated them beyond ideology and invited visitors to question the place of civil society in production and urban management, which is more present in the U.S. than in France. The exhibit contained contemporary images and photos from archives and was accompanied by a 49-minute radio documentary recorded in April 2016. The exhibit will reopen in Dijon in summer 2017. Learn More
August 23 – September 3
Second Annual “From Dijon to Dallas” Exhibit featured Andrew Davis (M.F.A. ’16) and Alice Bidault at a gallery in downtown Dallas. Both artists were chosen through an exhange between SMU Meadows School of the Arts and the Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Art (ENSA) of Dijon. The exhibit was curated by Sofia Bastidas, the 2016 Pollack Curatorial Fellow at SMU Meadows, as part of a postgraduate fellowship program launched in 2015 by SMU Meadows and ENSA. Bidault was an artist-in-residence from mid-July to Sept 5. Davis was in residence at ENSA in Dijon in September and October. Using sculpture, performance, video and painting, Davis produced what he calls “habitable diagrams” that negotiated personal desires in relation to ecological catastrophe. Bidault obtained her DNSEP (MFA equivalent) in 2016 at ESNA/Dijon and is an active member of ESTRAN Art and Les curious collectives. She researches history and considers how artists relate to and might act upon it.
Anne Peterson, librarain at SMU’s Degolyer Library, researched Stanley Marcus’ 1957 files for Dallas/Dijon correspondence, logistics, news and advertisements about their Dallas October 15, 1957, twinning ceremony, French Fort Night and celebrations and subsequent November trip to Dijon for their French counter-part ceremony.
Dallas Dijon Sister Cities Committee was organized by Ms. Karcher and Pierrette Lacour, a native of Dijon, to re-introduce Dallas’ commercial, cultural, civil and education organizations to their Dijon counterparts. Representatives of the City of Dallas (Office of Protocol and Public Art Collection), Dallas’ French-oriented organizations (Alliance Française de Dallas (AF), French American Chamber of Commerce DFW (FACC), SMU Meadows School of the Arts, Dallas International School (DIS) (French emersion) and members of the French community were asked to join in this effort. Each representative committed to developing Dallas’ partnership with Dijon.
Ms. Karcher traveled to Dijon and met Mme. Sladana Zivkovic and M. Adrien Cassina, representatives of Grand Dijon International Relations. They hosted a lovely lunch with Alex Miles, former culinary entrepreneur and retired University of Bourgogne professor, and provided a French copy of their twinning document for City of Dallas’ records. Ms. Karcher provided a notebook of articles that SMU Degoyler Library researched from Stanley Marcus’ records. She visited Dijon’s historic International Gastronomy Fair with its special anniversary celebration of their EU twin cities.
SMU Meadows School of the Arts continued the student exchange program with Andrew Davis’ exhibit at F.R.A.C.’s exhibit space in Dijon. The exhibit was viewed by a Ms. Karcher.
The Committee held a follow-up meeting to discuss opportunities to promote our twinning. Michael Corris, PhD, SMU Meadows School of Art professor, and the Dallas Regional Chamber’s International Director, Sarah Carabias-Rush, participated.
Dallas Dijon exhibited at Alliance Française de Dallas’ annual outdoor Marché de Noël (Christmas Market) to promote Dijon’s culture, cuisine and travel and raffle foods, wine and cassis products purchased in Dijon.
Spring / Summer
SMU Meadows and ESNA Dijon continued their student exchange at Dijon’s Contemporary Art Gallery and SMU’s student center.
Carol Hall, President of the French Heritage Society (FHS) and Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin Dallas Chapters, organized a spring Bourgogne-themed cocktail reception to introduce Dallas Dijon’s rejuvenation to FHS’ members.
Dallas Dijon Sister Cities showcased Dijon at an exhibit booth as the entrance of Dallas’ Bastille (Day) on Bishop’s evening celebration.
In honor of our 60th twining anniversary, FACC Dallas served kir royals at their VIP reception and exhibited our twinning history and Dijon tourism at their French Wine Festival’s entrance.
Dallas Dijon Sister Cities honored our 60th twinning anniversary at an exhibit booth at Alliance Françaisede Dallas’ Marché de Noel, which was held at Dallas International School’s Upper School campus near UTD.
Dallas Dijon met with Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) International representative, Sarah Carabius-Rush, about Dallas’ upcoming summer trip to Paris to encourage them to visit Dijon. Although the Dallas delegation was not able to add Dijon to their itinerary, Dallas’ Mayor Rawlings, sent a letter to Ville-Dijon’s Mayor Rebsamen to affirm the importance of their twinning and express his regrets that he could not visit Dijon, due to his brief stay in Paris on behalf of a DFW Airport Trade Mission.
July 14, November and December
Dallas Dijon Sister Cities exhibited at Bastille Day on Bishop, FACC-Dallas’ November Wine Festival and Alliance Française de Dallas’ December Marche de Noel. The U.S. and Dijon partnership during WW1 was featured.
The City of Dallas in partnership with Dallas Dijon Sister Cities invited Ville-Dijon representatives to visit Dallas as VIPs for the November 11 GDVDP Parade and FACC-Dallas’ French Wine Festival and meet representatives of the City of Dallas, El Centro Hospitality and Culinary Program, Dallas Regional Chamber, Dallas’ cultural centers, Alliance Française de Dallas, FACC-Dallas, Dallas Accueil, etc. Although the Dijon representatives were not able to travel, we are looking forward to their visit in the near future.
Summer / Fall
SMU Meadows, ESNA Dijon and F.R.A.C. Dijon continued their graduate student exchange program, which included housing for the students, exhibit spaces and publicly announced exhibits.
The Greater Dallas Veterans Day Parade (GDVDP) honored the 100th anniversary of the End of World War 1 and the U.S.’ provision of troops, medics and supplies in Dijon. The Honorable Alexis Andres, Consul General of France in Houston, was the keynote speaker. Dallas International School’s (DIS) upper school class planned to march in the parade until it was canceled due to an unprecedented cold weather forecast. In their parade publication, GDVPD included a two-page article about the U.S. and Dijon partnership that welcomed U.S. military, medics and supplies into Dijon and was instrumental in ending the war. Mme. Eliane Lockot, Ville-Dijon archives’ Directrix, provided historic photos and narrative that were included in the article and posted on Dallas Dijon Sister Cities’ new website.
Dallas Dijon Sister Cities hosted a luncheon at the George W. Bush Museum’s Café 43 to introduce Fort Worth Sister Cities and Nimes’ representatives to Alliance Francaise de Dallas and FACC-Dallas’ Executive Directors and Board Presidents. An introductory meeting with Bush Center representatives was followed by a VIP introduction to the George W. Bush Museum, self-directed tour and group photo in the Oval Office replica from President Bush’s term.
Dallas Dijon Sister Cities featured Dijon’s World War 2’s liberation at an exhibit booth at the entrance of Bastille Day on Bishop
Dallas Dijon recommended that AF invite their members to attend a July 30 evening slideshow about Dijon and Bourgogne that travel agency Golden Journeys had prepared. ( Golden Journeys is based in California and was visiting Dallas to attend a convention.) Dallas Dijon provided complimentary Bourgogne wines, Dijon cassis and regional charcuterie were served.
In conjunction with a tour of Bourgogne, Ms. Karcher traveled to Dijon to (a) bring gifts from the City of Dallas (custom Dallas skyline chocolates and a letter from Dallas Mayor Johnson to Ville-Dijon Mayor Rebsamen), GDVDP’s 2018 parade program and Dallas Regional Chamber’s publications and (b) meet with representatives in Ville-Dijon: Archives Directrix, ESNA Dijon’s Director, UNESCO ‘s Directrix, Alliance Française de Dijon/Bourgogne Directrix, Mulon PetitJean’s Export Manager, United Schools’ Director and Founder, Food Consultant Alex Miles, Chambre de Commerce Cote D’Or’s Director and Le Consortium’s Director and Assistant Director. She attended Dijon’s annual WW2 Liberation ceremony, parade and reception on September 11, and was delighted to meet Ville-Dijon Mayor Rebsamen and present Mayor Johnson’s letter. Ville-Dijon international representatives, Mme. Sladana Vikovich and M. Cassina, hosted a lovely luncheon with Dijon’s representatives from archives, education, etc. to discuss exchange opportunities between our cities. Ms. Karcher provided Dallas contact information to Stephane Ollagnier, the Dijon-based founder and director of United Schools, which is an interactive software platform that enables classrooms for ages 5 to 16 to connect internationally and with their sister cities. Alliance Francaise de Dallas participated is a 3-month trial and DIS continued as a member.
Dallas Dijon Sister Cities and Alliance Française de Dallas organized a 10-day trip with Golden Journeys travel agency to Dijon and Bourgogne for 18 Alliance Française de Dallas students for morning French lessons, cook class, history tours, wine tastings and reception with Ville-Dijon representatives. The September 2020 trip was announced in December, and sold out within one month.
GDVDP honored the 75th anniversary of D-Day (June 6, 1944), Operation Dragoon (August 15, 1944) and Dijon’s Liberation (September 11, 1944). The Honorable Alexis Andres, Consul General of France in Houston, was the keynote speaker and presided over France’s Legion d’Honneur ceremony during the VIP reception. Dallas International School’s (DIS) music students sang the U.S. and French national anthems. DIS’ upper class carried their DIS school flag and Dijon Liberation flag in the one-mile long parade, during chilly, wind-driven weather. GDVDP published a 4-page article written by Dallas Dijon Sister Cities about Operation Dragoon, which liberated Paris/Boulogne-Billancourt on August 25, 1944, and Dijon on September 11, 1944, before joining D-Day’s troops north of Dijon. Ville-Dijon’s archives Directrix, Mme. Eliane Lochot, and Boulogne-Billancourt’s archives Directix, Mme. Francoise Bedoussac, provided historic photos and descriptions for the GDVDP article and Dallas Dijon Sister Cities’ new website. In addition, Alliance Française de Dallas and Dallas Dijon Sister Cities featured Dijon’s history at an exhibit in City Hall plaza, where Alliance Française de Dallas offered discounted French classes to veterans.
Dallas Dijon Sister Cities featured Dijon’s World War 2’s liberation during FACC-Dallas’ November French Wine Festival and Alliance Française de Dallas’ December Marche de Noel. FACC-Dallas served Bourgogne cremant, pinot and chardonnay wines during the Wine Festival.
Dallas Dijon Sister Cities began participating in Washington, D.C.’s Sister Cities International’s monthly French sister cities Zoom forums, which began in January. The forum enables U.S. French sister cities to discuss various initiatives and questions. Mary Palko, France Chair, introduced the participants to the U.S. Consul General and staff in Marseilles during the May conference call.
Dijon received recognition as one of 4 finalists in the “European Green Capital 2022” competition organized by the European Commission. Dijon was also awarded the European Union’s “H2020 call for projects” for their actions in Dijon’s district as part of an experimental energy saving program. Dijon’s “Cit’ergie” label was renewed in January 2020.
Dijon Mayor Rebsamen sent a letter to Dallas Mayor Johnson to express solidarity during the difficult Covid time.
Dallas Dijon initiated a bi-monthly newsletter to its mailing list that will feature news about Dijon.
Dallas Dijon presented its recent twinning initiatives during a Sister Cities Interatioonal Zoom conference call with U.S. Consulate General in Marseille. We encouraged the U.S. cities to connect with their sister cities’ schools through United Schools.
The American Association of Teachers of French, North Texas Chapter (AATF-NT) invited Dallas Dijon Sister Cities to give a presentation about United Schools during AATF-NT members’ annual spring meeting. AATF-NT’s teachers were invited to connect online with United Schools’ classrooms in France and worldwide, especially DFW’s French twins: Dallas & Dijon, Fort Worth & Nimes, Irving & Boulogne-Billancourt and Denison & Cognac.
Pierrette Lacour met with existing and new Ville-Dijon and Dijon Métropole’s international representatives to discuss their goals to further their twinning rapport with Dallas and consider a possible visit to Dallas in 2022 to celebrate our 65th twinning anniversary. They also discussed the anticipated opening of Dijon’s Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin by spring, 2022, during which they anticipate extending invitions to Dallas’ Mayor Johnson and Dijon’s other sister cities’ mayors.