The idea for the documentary “Jean Monnet: Father of Europe” began in October 2009 in the Brussels, Belgium, office of Stanley Crossick, prominent European Union lawyer and co-founder of Belmont (the first Brussels multi-nationality and multi-disciplinary EU law firm), Founding Chairman of the European Policy Centre, and Senior Advisor on China to the European Centre for Asian Studies.

Mr. Crossick, who died in late 2010, described himself as “a European of British nationality.” He was intimately familiar with the work of Jean Monnet through his own study as well as his friendship with Max Kohnstamm, who worked with Mr. Monnet from 1950-1975. In early 2010 Mr. Crossick introduced me to Mr. Kohnstamm and the project was off and running.

Over an 18-month period, I traveled the length and breadth of Europe to interview those who worked with Mr. Monnet as well as those who have studied his legacy and his importance to European integration. In particular, the observations and insights of the following individuals provided the heart of the film:

  • Georges Berthoin, who worked for Mr. Monnet in the early 1950s
  • Stanley Crossick
  • David Edward, former member of the Court of Justice of the European Union from 1992-2004
  • Julien Gascard, Lecturer for the Association Jean Monnet at the Monnet home in the area referred to as Houjarray west of Paris
  • Gilles Grin, Deputy Director of the Fondation Jean Monnet pour l’Europe in Lausanne, Switzerland
  • A.G. Harryvan, Professor at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and co-author of “Max Kohnstamm: Leven En Werk Van Een Europeaan” [“Max Kohnstamm: The Life and Work of a European”]
  • Max Kohnstamm, who worked with Mr. Monnet from 1950-1975
  • Jacques-René Rabier, who worked for Mr. Monnet in the early 1950s
  • T.R. Reid, author of The United States of Europe
  • Jan van der Harst, Professor at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and co-author of “Max Kohnstamm: Leven En Werk Van Een Europeaan” [“Max Kohnstamm: The Life and Work of a European”]

Many organizations were helpful in the development of the documentary’s underlying theme. Among the organizations were:

  • Association Jean Monnet, Houjarray & Paris, France
  • Communaute de Communes de Cognac, France
  • European Commission Audio Visual Department, Brussels, Belgium
  • Fondation Jean Monnet pour l’Europe, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Office de Tourisme de Cognac, France
  • The University of Denver Office of Internationalization
  • The University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Don C. Smith
Denver, Colorado USA
April, 2011