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. The World Affairs Council Dallas Chapter co-hosted the 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 Dijon twinning and Fortnight’s France theme.
The Texas Chapter of La 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 Texas 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, Dallas’ Director of International Affairs, hosted a luncheon in honor of Dijon’s 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 Pardé 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 Dijon’s University of Bourgogne in 1983 and 1988, conducted a study with students at UTD and University of Bourgogne 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, a 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 Dijon 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 Dallas Museum of Art thanks to the support of the Fairmont Hotel’s kitchen and staff and held a cooking demonstration at the Texas State Fair. Dr. Richard R. Brettell, at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), with Dr. Bonnie Wheeler and Dr. Jeremy Adams at Southern Methodist University (SMU) 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, which is also a member of FRAME. The classes were held in DMA’s Horchow Auditorium 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 exhibitions with graduate art students at SMU and Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art et de Design (ENSA) in Dijon. These events were organized under the leadership of Michael Corris, Ph.D., professor at SMU Meadows School of the Arts and ENSA Dijon’s Director, Emmanuel Monnier. Each year, an artist is selected from each institution to spend a six-week residency on exchange at the other, which includes studio and living spaces and an exhibition in each location. Learn More
Students: Hugo Capron (DNSCP/ENSA Dijon) and Melissa Tran (MFA 2015/SMU Dallas). Curator: Astrid Gagnard, Director of FRAC Burgundy. Learn More
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 reopened in Dijon in summer 2017. Learn More
Anne Peterson, librarian 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, Neiman Marcus’ first fortnight, which featured France, and Dallas’ subsequent November trip to Dijon for their counter-part ceremony.
August 23 – September 3 through October
The Second Annual SMU and ENSA Dijon exchange “From Dijon to Dallas” Exhibit featured SMU MFA, Andrew Davis (M.F.A. ’16), and ENSA DNSCP, Alice Bidault, at a gallery in downtown Dallas. The exhibit was curated by Sofia Bastidas, the 2016 Pollack Curatorial Fellow at SMU Meadows. Bidault was Dallas’ artist-in-residence from mid-July to Sept 5. Davis was in residence 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 ENSA 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. Curator: Gabriel Ritter, Curator Minneapolis Institute of Art. Learn More
Dallas Dijon Sister Cities Committee (DDSC) was organized by Ms. Karcher and Pierrette Lacour, a native of the Bourgogne region, 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 immersion) and members of the French community attended and agreed to join this effort.
Ms. Karcher traveled to Dijon and met Mme. Sladana Zivkovic and M. Adrien Cassina, representatives of Grand Dijon International Relations. They hosted a lunch with Alex Miles, former culinary entrepreneur and retired University of Bourgogne professor, and provided a copy of their twinning document for the City of Dallas’ records. Ms. Karcher provided twinning articles from Dallas Public and SMU Degoyler Libraries, visited Dijon’s annual International Gastronomy Fair, which featured their EU twin cities and viewed Davis’ exhibit at FRAC Bourgogne.
DDSC’s Committee met with City of Dallas Sister Cities’ liaison, Julianna Allen, SMU Meadows School of Arts’ professor, Michael Corris, PhD, and Dallas Regional Chamber’s (DRC) International Director, Sarah Carabias-Rush, about additional art and business exchange opportunities with Dijon.
DDSC exhibited at Alliance Française (AF) de Dallas’ annual outdoor Marché de Noël (Christmas Market) to promote Dijon’s culture, cuisine and travel with a raffle of Dijon’s pain d’epice, mustards, wine and crème de cassis products.
SMU Meadows and ENSA Dijon continued their annual graduate art student exchange at Dijon’s Contemporary Art Gallery, Le Consortium, and SMU’s Pollock Student Center. Students: Benjamin Grivot (ENSA Dijon) and Juan Alberto Negroni (MFA 2017/SMU Dallas). Curators: Xavier Douroux, Géraldine Minet and Franck Gautherot, The Consortium Dijon. Learn More
Carol Hall, President of the French Heritage Society (FHS) and La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin’s Dallas Chapters, organized a spring Bourgogne-themed cocktail reception to introduce Dallas Dijon’s rejuvenation to FHS’ members.
DDSC showcased Dijon at an exhibit booth as the entrance of Dallas’ Bastille (Day) on Bishop’s annual evening celebration.
To honor our 60th twining anniversary during FACC DFW’s annual French Wine Festival, kir royals were served during the VIP reception and DDSC exhibited our twinning history and Dijon’s tourism.
DDSC featured our 60th twinning anniversary at AF Dallas’ Marché de Noel held at DIS’ 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.
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, FACC-DFW’s French Wine Festival, Dallas College’s Pastry, Culinary and Hospitality Program, Dallas Regional Chamber, Dallas’ cultural centers, Alliance Française de Dallas, FACC-DFW, Dallas Accueil, etc. Although the Dijon representatives were not able to travel, we are looking forward to their visit in the near future.
DDSC’s exhibit at Bastille on Bishop featured the U.S. and Dijon’s partnership during WW1.
SMU Meadows School of the Arts and ENSA Dijon continued their graduate student exchange program. Students: Lucie Douriaud (ENSA Dijon) & Maureen Munley (MFA 2018/SMU Dallas). Curators : Sofia Bastidas Vivar (SMU Dallas) and Astrid Handa-Gagnard of FRAC Burgundy. Learn More
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. GDVPD printed a two-page article about the U.S. and Dijon partnership that welcomed U.S. military, medics and supplies into Dijon, which was instrumental in ending the war. Ville-Dijon archives’ Directrix, Mme. Eliane Lochot, provided historic photos and narrative for the parade publication and DDSC’s website.
November and December
During FACC-DFW’s November Wine Festival and AF Dallas’ December Marche de Noel, DDSC featured the U.S. and Dijon partnership during WW1.
DDSC 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-DFW’ 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.
September 21 – October 5 (Dallas)
SMU Dallas and ENSA Dijon’s annual exchange featured students: Victor Boucon (ENSA Dijon) & Xxavier Edward Carter (SMU Dallas).
Curators: Sofia Bastidas Vivar (SMU Dallas) and Astrid Handa-Gagnard of FRAC Burgundy. Learn More
DDSC featured the World War 2 liberation of Dijon at Bastille on Bishop’s annual evening celebration.
DDSC recommended that AF Dallas invite their members to attend a July 30 evening slideshow about Dijon and Bourgogne prepared by travel agency Golden Journeys. DDSC served complimentary Bourgogne wines, crème de cassis de Dijon and regional charcuterie.
In conjunction with Golden Journey’s tour of Bourgogne, Ms. Karcher traveled to Dijon to (a) bring gifts from the City of Dallas, 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, ENSA Dijon’s Director, Alliance Française de Dijon/Bourgogne’S Directrix, Mulon & Petitjean’s Export Manager, United Schools’ Director and Founder, Bourgogne Cuisine Consultant, Chambre de Commerce Cote D’Or’s Director and Le Consortium’s Director and Assistant Director. She attended Dijon’s annual September 11th WW2 Liberation ceremony, parade and receptio and presented Mayor Johnson’s letter to Mayor Rebsamen. Ville-Dijon international representatives, Mme. Sladana Vikovich and M. Cassina, hosted a luncheon with Dijon’s representatives from archives, education, etc. to discuss exchange opportunities between our cities. Ms. Karcher provided DDSC Committee information to Stephane Ollagnier, the Dijon-based founder and director of United Schools, an interactive software platform which enables classrooms for ages 5 to 16 to connect with their sister cities and others internationally. This resulted in DIS joining as a member and AF Dallas participating in a 3-month trial.
November 24, 2018 – October 13, 2019
Le Consortium in Dijon featured art from their permanent collection, which included early works by Dallas artist and SMU professor, Micheal Corris, Ph.D. The exhibit “New York : The 1980s; Part I” featured art made in the New York in the 1980’s, when “their visual environment was saturated with all kinds of images, from record covers, magazine, cartoons and comics, billboards, to movies and television, with the first video clips and the beginnings of MTV.” On behalf of Dallas, Ms.Karcher viewed the exhibit. Learn More
October – November
DDSC, AF Dallas and travel agency, Golden Journeys, organized a 10-day trip to Dijon and Bourgogne for 20 AF Dallas students to experience morning French lessons, cooking classes, culture and history tours, excursions to Beaune and Tournus, Dijon’s Les Halles marche, chocolates, cheeses, pain d’epice and Bourgogne wines. The September 2020 trip, which was announced in December, sold out within one month. During summer 2020, it was rescheduled for May 2022.
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 DIS and Dijon Liberation banners in the one-mile parade, during chilly, wind-driven weather. GDVDP published a 4-page article written by DDSC about Operation Dragoon, Paris/Boulogne-Billancourt liberation on August 25, 1944 and Dijon’s liberation, which occurred prior to D-Day and Operation troops meeting north of Dijon. Ville-Dijon Archives Directrix, Mme. Eliane Lochot, and Boulogne-Billancourt Archives Directix, Mme. Francoise Bedoussac, provided historic photos and descriptions for the GDVDP article and DDSC’s website. AF Dallas and DDSC featured Dijon’s history at Dallas City Hall plaza, and AF Dallas offered discounted French classes to veterans.
November 22, December 8
DDSC featured Dijon’s World War 2’s liberation during FACC-DFW’s November French Wine Festival and AF Dallas’ December Marche de Noel. FACC-DFW served Bourgogne crémant, pinot noir and chardonnay wines.
DDSC began participating in the Washington, D.C. based Sister Cities International (SCI) France Sister Cities’ monthly zoom forums, which began in January. The forum enables U.S. French sister cities to discuss various initiatives and questions.
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.
Ville-Dijon Mayor Rebsamen sent a letter to Dallas Mayor Johnson to express solidarity during the difficult covid time.
DDSC initiated periodic newsletters featuring news about Dijon and Dallas.
During U.S. France Sister Cities April zoom conference, Mary Palko introduced the U.S. Consul General and staff at the U.S. Consulate General Marseilles. DDSC gave an overview of recent twinning activities and encouraged U.S. cities to connect with their French sister cities through United Schools.
The American Association of Teachers of French North Texas Chapter (AATF-NT) invited DDSC to give a presentation about Dijon’s United Schools during AATF-NT annual spring meeting. AATF-NT’s teachers were invited to connect with their French twin cities, which include: Fort Worth & Nimes, Irving & Boulogne-Billancourt and Denison & Cognac.
Pierrette Lacour met with new Ville-Dijon and Dijon Métropole’s international representatives to discuss their goals for expanding their rapport with Dallas and a possible visit to Dallas in 2022 to celebrate our 65th twinning anniversary. The anticipated Spring 2022 opening of Dijon’s La Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin, will include an invitation to Dallas’ Mayor Johnson to attend a VIP welcome. Learn More