In a ceremony in Panama City on December 18, 2006, M. Philippe Faure, Secretary General of France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, appointed Mr AlemÃ¡n a knight of the order for his leadership in managing the Panama Canal. Established by Napolean Bonaparte in 1802, the LÃ©gion d’honneur is France’s leading order, and is conferred on French citizens or foreigners to mark exceptional achievements in military or civil life.
“The French government recognises Mr AlemÃ¡n’s perceptiveness and the respect he has developed far beyond the borders of Panama in his task of managing one of the largest waterways in the world,” said M. Faure. “We are confident in the success of the Panama Canal expansion and Mr AlemÃ¡n’s qualities of leadership.”
Mr AlemÃ¡n responded: “I am deeply grateful to the French Government for the distinction. I accept the Legion of Honour on behalf of the ACP’s 9,000 employees who work hard each day to serve world trade and Panama. Perhaps, if not for the vision of Ferdinand de Lesseps, we would not be here today.”