Brett August, Chair of the Paris Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International, received the highest award given by France to civilians or military offers when he was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor, or Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, on May 1. The decree of knighthood was signed by President Hollande of France. The medal of knighthood was bestowed by the French Consul General, Vincent Floreani, at the Sofitel Hotel in Chicago in a ceremony attended by 60 friends and family. Following the ceremony, Brett was further honored in a black-tie gala of the French-American Chamber of Commerce, an organization Brett founded in 1979 and which he has served as president.
Brett’s French language skills and love of France are the result of attending the University of Rouen, in Normandy, the city where Brett’s father, the late Charles August, had fought for three years to free France during World War II. Brett then attended Yale Law School before practicing law in Chicago, where Brett is a partner in the 130-year-old law firm Pattishall McAuliffe. Brett specializes in intellectual property law, with an emphasis on brand protection and the Internet.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Consul General Floreani cited as the reason for this extraordinary award Brett’s efforts for more than three decades to improve relations between Chicago and Paris. As Chairman of the Paris Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International for the past nine years, Brett has overseen the establishment of over a dozen student exchanges between high school students in Paris and Chicago, in addition to cultural, business and social-services activities.
In the attached photo, Brett – proudly wearing the medal of the French Legion of Honor – is joined by his wife Carey, his daughter Hillary, and Consul General Vincent Floreani.