Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 326–341 | Cite as

Mutual interests? US public diplomacy in the 1980s and Nicolas Sarkozy’s first trip to the United States

  • Giles Scott-SmithEmail author


In July 1985 Nicolas Sarkozy, then a young mayor of the outer Parisian suburb of Neuilly, was invited to visit the US as a ‘grantee’ on the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). This article traces the operation of the IVLP in Western Europe in the 1980s, the importance of the ‘successor generation’ in US strategy, and the background to and meaning of Sarkozy’s invitation and trip. The argument is that while the IVLP can be interpreted as a form of US power projection and ‘informal empire’, Sarkozy’s experience instead illustrates the mutual interests involved and the ways in which a participant can benefit by steering the Program according to their own agenda.


cultural diplomacy public diplomacy exchange programmes transatlantic relations American-French relations 


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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Roosevelt Study Center/Roosevelt AcademyMiddelburgThe Netherlands

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