Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.

Benjamin Disraeli

Jack Lang - Biography

Jack Mathieu Émile Lang (born 2 September 1939) is a French politician. A member of the Socialist Party, he served as France's Minister of Culture from 1981 to 1986 and 1988 to 1992, and as Minister of Education from 1992 to 1993 and 2000 to 2002. He was also the Mayor of Blois from 1989 to 2000. He currently serves in the National Assembly from the sixth district of Pas-de-Calais.

Contents

Biography

Jack Lang was born to Roger Lang and Marie-Luce Bouchet in Mirecourt, in the département of Vosges. The Langs were a secularized, well-to-do Jewish family based in Nancy. Roger Lang was the commercial manager of the family business which was founded by Jack's grandfather Albert. Roger and Albert were both freemasons. Jack's mother, Marie-Luce Bouchet, a Catholic, was born in 1919 as the daughter of Emile Bouchet, who died in 1926, and Berthe Boulanger, a nurse who was also a freemason.

In 1938 Albert and Roger sent their wives to Vichy because of the threat of war with Germany. After the German invasion Albert Lang and his wife moved to Brive la Gaillarde in Corrèze. The very young Jack and his mother went to stay with his great grandmother (the mother of Berthe Boulanger) in Cholet and subsequently moved to Bordeaux. His father Roger was first mobilized in Luneville, and then joined his parents and his brother-in-law Luc Bouchet in Brive. Jack and his mother also joined them in Brive after the bombing of Bordeaux. Jack Lang's father was sentenced by the court in Brive for failure to report his children as Jews, but was later acquitted by the Court of Appeal on the ground that the childrens' mother was a Catholic. Roger Lang was nevertheless placed under house arrest. Berthe Bouchet (Boulanger) visited the Langs in April 1942 when her daughter was about to give birth to her third child, Marianne. In 1943 Berthe was arrested in Nancy by the Gestapo for acts of propaganda and resistance. She was deported to Ravensbrück and gassed in the spring of 1945.

Jack Lang studied political science at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, and went on to receive a postgraduate degree in public law. His career then focused on a combination of teaching and culture and the arts. He was the founder and producer of Festival du Monde in Nancy, was director of the Nancy University Theatre from 1963 to 1972, and then director of the Théâtre national de Chaillot from 1972 to 1974. At the same time he was a professor of international law from 1971 to 1981. He married Monique Buczynski in 1961. The couple have two daughters.

Politics

Lang entered politics as a Socialist member of the French National Assembly from Paris in 1977. He is best known for having served as Minister of Culture (22 May 1981 – 19 March 1986 and 13 May 1988 – 29 March 1993) and as Minister of Education (3 April 1992 – 29 March 1993 and 27 March 2000 – 5 May 2002).

In 1981, while Minister of Culture, he created the Fête de la Musique, a massive celebration of music held on 21 June each year, where many amateur musicians give free open-air performances. He is the co-founder and president of the Union of the Theatres of Europe.

In August 1981, he created the Lang Law, which allows publishers to enforce a minimum sale price for books.

Lang was a Member of the European Parliament from 1994 to 1997. In 2000 he ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Paris. While he had planned to run for president in 2007 he decided not to register as a candidate for the Socialist nomination in the name of party unity.

In 2007, Lang agreed to become co-chairman of a commission drafting changes to the Constitution that were supported by President Nicolas Sarkozy and opposed by the Socialist Party. This decision provoked strong criticism from his party, leading him to end his role in the party leadership. When Parliament voted on the constitutional changes on 21 July 2008, he voted in favor, becoming the only Socialist deputy to do so. A three-fifths majority was required, and the changes passed by a vote of 539 to 357, meaning that Lang's support enabled the bill to pass by a one-vote margin. The Socialist Party denounced Lang for this vote; party spokesman Julien Dray said that he had "gone too far" and "no longer has his place in our political family", while Jean-Marc Ayrault, the President of the Socialist Parliamentary Group, said that Lang's vote was an act of "crossing the Rubicon". Lang replied by saying that it "is in nobody's power to strike me from the map of the French political landscape".

In late 2009, Sarkozy appointed Lang his special envoy to North Korea, following a similar assignment earlier in the year to Cuba. Lang is scheduled to travel to Pyongyang on November 9 for a self-described "listening mission" aimed at exploring bilateral ties and discussing the North Korean nuclear program, among other things. Lang briefed American officials including Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and special envoy Sung Kim, as well as ambassadors of countries involved such as Russia, before the assignment was publicly announced. Some critics questioned Lang's qualifications, but Lang said he would be driven by his "intuition" that change was afoot in North Korea.

In August 2010, Lang became special adviser on piracy at the United Nations. He was brought in to advise on the prosecution of pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Political career

Governmental functions

Minister of Culture : 1981-1986.

Minister of Culture, Communication, Great Works and of the Bicentennial : 1988-1991.

Minister of Culture and Communication, government's spokesman : 1991-1992.

Minister of State, minister of National Education and Culture : 1992-1993.

Minister of National Education : 2000-2002.

Special envoy to Cuba : February 2009.

Special envoy to North Korea : November 2009.

Electoral mandates

European Parliament

Member of European Parliament : 1994-1997 (Reelected member of the National Assembly of France in 1997). Elected in 1994.

National Assembly of France

Member of the National Assembly of France for Pas-de-Calais : Since 2002. Elected in 2002, re-elected in 2007.

Member of the National Assembly of France for Loir-et-Cher : 1986-1988 (Became minister in 1988) / March–December 1993 (Resignation) / 1997-2000 (Became minister in 2000). Elected in 1986, re-elected in 1988, 1993, 1997.

Regional Council

Vice-president of the Regional Council of Nord-Pas-de-Calais : Since 2004

Regional councillor of Nord-Pas-de-Calais : Since 2004.

Regional councillor of Centre : 1992-1998.

General Council

General councillor of Loir-et-Cher : 1992-1993 (Resignation).

Municipal Council

Mayor of Blois : 1989-2000 (Resignation). Reelected in 1995.

Municipal councillor of Blois : 1989-2002 (Resignation). Reelected in 1995.

Councillor of Paris 1983-1989.

Bibliography

See also the bibliography on his website (in French).

By Lang

  • L'État et le théâtre, 1968, LGDJ bibliothèque de droit public
  • Le plateau continental de la mer du Nord : Arrêt de la Cour Internationale de Justice, février 1969 LGDJ bibliothèque de droit international
  • Éclats (avec Jean-Denis Bredin), éditions Jean-Claude Simoën, 1978
  • Demain, les femmes, Grasset, août 1995
  • Lettre à André Malraux, Éditions 1, November 1996
  • François , Perrin, octobre 1997
  • Les araignées, Pocket, 2000
  • La politique, d'où ça vient ? L'origine de l'État, Les fondements de la République, La genèse de l'impôt (avec Odon Vallet et Gaëtan de Séguin des Hons), Flammarion, août 2000
  • Qu'apprend-on au collège ? Pour comprendre ce que nos enfants apprennent (avec Claire Bretécher), XO éditions, janvier 2002
  • Anna au muséum, Hachette Jeunesse, avril 2002
  • Laurent le Magnifique, Perrin, août 2002 ISBN 978-2-262-01608-1
  • Une école élitaire pour tous, Gallimard, septembre 2003
  • Un nouveau régime politique pour la France, Odile Jacob, août 2004, ISBN 978-2-738-11566-9
  • Nelson Mandela : Leçon de vie pour l'avenir, Perrin, janvier 2005 – ISBN 978-2-262-02194-8
  • Changer livre programme pour 2007, Plon, Septembre 2005, ISBN 978-2-259-20359-3
  • Immigration positive, avec Herve Le Bras, Paris, Odile Jacob, 2006, ISBN 978-2-738-11801-1
  • Faire la révolution fiscale, Plon, 2006, ISBN 978-2-259-20460-6
  • Demain comme hier, avec Jean-Michel Helvig, Fayard, 2009, ISBN 978-2-213-63846-1
  • La bataille du Grand Louvre, éditions Réunions des Musées Nationaux, 2010, ISBN 978-2-711-85789-0
  • Ce que je sais de François Mitterrand, Le Seuil, 2011, ISBN 978-2-021-03793-7
  • François Mitterrand : fragments de vie partagée, Le Seuil, 2011 ISBN 978-2021037937
  • Pourquoi ce vandalisme d'État contre l'École : lettre au Président de la République, Éditions du Félin, 2011, ISBN 978-2-86645-765-5

About Jack Lang

About Festival de Nancy

  • Marie-Ange Rauch, Le théâtre en France en 1968, histoire d’une crise, thèse consacrée à l’histoire du théâtre en France (1945–1972), Nanterre, 1995, 475 pages. Voir chapitre 2 : « les étudiants le théâtre et le Festival de Nancy », pp. 135–143.

About his action as Minister for Culture and Communication

  • Laurent Martin, Le prix unique du livre 1981-2006. La loi Lang, coordonné par Laurent Martin, Comité d'histoire du ministère de la Culture et des institutions culturelles - IMEC, collection L'édition contemporaine, 2006, 197 p.
  • Laurent Martin, « Oui, le livre a un prix », L'Histoire, number 216, janvier 2007.
  • Philippe Poirrier, L'État et la culture en France au XXe, Le Livre de Poche, 2006.
  • Michel Schneider, La Comédie de la Culture, Seuil, 1993.

Books with a preface from Jack Lang

  • Le Gardien des âmes de Alain Roullier (France Europe éditions), 1998.
  • 16 ans ou l'avènement de la conscience citoyenne de Adyl Abdelhafidi
  • Homosexualité. 10 clés pour comprendre, 20 textes à découvrir de Bruno Perreau (Librio), 2005.
  • Mitterrand, Une Affaire d’Amitié, de Stephan-Xavier Trano (L'Archipel), 2006, ISBN 978-2-841-87793-5

Fims and articles about Jack Lang

  • À table avec les politiques, 2005, film documentaire de Frédéric Lepage.
  • Caplan, Lincoln, "M. Le Ministre" The New Yorker 60/47 (7 January 1985) : 18-19


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