Bilateral relations between the United States and Wallonia-Brussels, more specifically Wallonia, are both rewarding (the United States is our largest trading partner outside the European Union) and full of opportunities.
In terms of the cooperation of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation with the United States, the priority areas are the French language, the development of cultural operators in places with multiplier effects and university cooperation. Several schemes are in place in practice:
a cooperation agreement with Louisiana supports the sending of teachers and trainers in French and FFL (French as a Foreign Language). This agreement also provides for a programme to support the vibrancy of the French language in teaching and education, and also aims to make French a language that supports the economic sectors of tourism and tourism-related jobs.
a scholarship for FFL and French education (summer scholarships) is also available to Americans wanting to improve their knowledge by coming to spend a few weeks in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
a scholarship for a teaching internship in a primary school in the United States (Minnesota) is also available for young people from the Wallonia-Brussels Federation who would like to familiarise themselves with the teaching profession while receiving supervision from a tutor.
We also take part in the South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin every year. This is a series of music (SXSW Music), film (SXSW Film) and interactive media (SXSW Interactive) festivals held annually in March since 1987 at the Austin Convention Center (Texas, USA).
WB Campus also participates in NAFSA fairs, presenting the higher education offer of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
Lastly, it should be noted that there is a Cultural Project Manager in New York, who takes part in operations to promote the arts of Wallonia-Brussels.
In terms of Wallonia, the priority themes are Research and Innovation, with the objective of creating and improving opportunities for researchers. Few changes are expected at the bilateral level in the coming years, but the quality of the dialogue can support a better climate of cooperation. The announced energy transition shift may also improve the search for partnerships. The health situation is allowing Wallonia to promote its expertise.
In addition to the action programme, two initiatives should be highlighted:
the Texas AM Network: the development of a research and business start-up ecosystem, coupled with a global network focused on Asia.
the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Minnesota and Wallonia: Greater Wellness Consortium (GWC) Healthcare & Food with a strong supply chain dimension. This is a new partnership that puts Wallonia in the limelight, recognising the achievements of Liège Airport and the success of the cluster policy: health, agri and logistics/connectivity - opened end of January 2021.
We also participate in the BIO International Convention, organised by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology industries, academic and public institutions operating throughout the United States and in more than 30 other countries. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative products in health, agriculture, industry and environmental products.
In terms of relations with the United States, it is important to mention the significance of remembrance tourism connected to the Second World War. Wallonia regularly welcomes American delegations commemorating the US engagement in Wallonia.
Lastly, we note the presence of a Scientific Liaison Officer in the United States, who maintains close partnerships with American scientific and technological operators, notably with Tufts University (Boston).