STUDY DAY ‘Alliance’ or ‘State of Mind’? 120 years of Entente Cordiale

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Margareth Thatcher & François Mitterrand, 29/07/1987, Archives : Actualités diplomatiques ©MEAE

Convened by Pascal Marty (MFO) and Florence Ferran (Higher Education, Research, Innovation department, French Embassy in the United Kingdom)

The Entente Cordiale is a series of diplomatic agreements concluded in 1904 between France and Great Britain. Occurring amid colonial quarrels, these agreements, dubbed an “Entente Cordiale”, confirmed the reconciliation of two great powers who had long been adversaries, even if they had not faced each other since 1815. It was also a part of the system of international relations which led to the First World War. While in the recent past, the Entente cordiale has often been relegated to the status of a commonplace for commentators lacking inspiration, the particularly tense international context which accompanies the one-
hundred-and-twentieth celebration of this milestone in Franco-British relations gives it a whole new meaning.

At a time when a conventional as well as a hybrid war has been going on for over two years on European soil, and when the consequences of Brexit on Great Britain’s status in the world and the dynamics of the European Union have yet to be fully assessed, France and Britain once again find themselves facing a mix of bilateral problems and global challenges. How does the multivocal legacy of the Entente Cordiale influence the relations of the two powers, shape their visions of the world, and offer paths for thin-king about their future whether it is common or separate? Conversely, what can the Entente Cordiale be used for in a world facing challenges unknown to the 20th century such as climate change, energy transition, or the rise of artificial intelligence?

The workshop organised by the French Embassy and the Maison française d’Oxford aims to examine these questions and many others. After two introductory conferences which replace the Entente Cordiale in its historical context, a round table will address the current diplomatic, geopolitical and cultural issues around a new “Entente Cordiale”.

Opening by Guillaume Lacroix, First Counsellor, Embassy of France
and Pascal Marty, Director of the Maison Française d’Oxford

Robert Gildea (Worcester College, Oxford University)
‘The Entente Cordiale in Franco-British history’

Isabelle Dasque (Sorbonne Université) 
‘L’Entente Cordiale, de la réconciliation aux prémices d’une politique d’alliance’

Exchanges and coffee break

3.25-4-55pm - Roundtable
Chair: Nathalie Berny (Maison française d’Oxford, Science Po Rennes, Nuffield College)
Panelists: Charlotte Faucher (University of Bristol) ; Christian Lequesne (Sciences Po Paris) ; 
Anand Menon (King’s College London) ; Rachel Utley (University of Leeds)


End of the event

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