Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Future of France

I spent two hours this morning with the future of France. At 18, this young man has already founded an association that brought about a change in French law. At 18, he has already served as an advisor to a presidential campaign. At 18, about to begin his studies at a French university, he has already discussed with his friends whether it is best to try first for success in politics and then business, or the other way around. As we walked through Harvard Square, I didn't see anyone I knew, because most of my colleagues vanish for the summer, but he was warmly greeted by someone he had met on his previous visit to the United States, for a gathering of young Internet entrepreneurs.

And did I mention that this young man was un beur? No, because it didn't seem to loom large in his mind. His identity, like the identity of any 18-year-old, is a much more complicated, much more subjective, much more fraught matter than his ethnicity, which is merely an objective fact about him. He has so much else on his mind.

Clearly, this is an atypical young man. But still a hopeful sign of change.