Cecilia Attias has dedicated most of her adult life to serving others; as a mother, a wife, a committed public servant, activist and ardent supporter of women's rights. Noted as a woman of strength and fortitude, Madame Attias honed those qualities early in life when at the age of 14 she successfully underwent experimental open heart surgery to repair a childhood heart defect. Never one to shy away from adversity, in 2007 Attias again showed her strength and determination when she successfully negotiated with General Muammar Ghadaffi for the release of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor imprisoned on Libya's death row.
Born in Boulogne-Billancourt to Andre Ciganer & Diane Albeniz (who's grandfather was the famed Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz), Cecilia was the youngest of four children. She studied at the prestigious French religious academy, Sœurs de Lübeck for 13 years, where she became fluent in several languages as well as an accomplished and acclaimed pianist. Upon graduation she studied law at Assas and began her political career shortly thereafter serving as a parliamentary assistant to Rene Touzet. In 1989 she met Nicolas Sarkozy, then Mayor of Neuilly-Sur-Seine. Over the next two decades they would forge an unparalleled partnership that would take them all the way to the Elysees Palace. Cecilia became Sarkozy's closest confidante, advisor and in 1996, his wife. She also continued to serve the people of France in many capacities; in 2002 she was appointed to the office of Minister of Interior where she became involved in women's rights and issues relating to domestic violence, immigration, assimilation and crimes against children. She saw first hand the suffering and pain of the victims and made a vow to use her influence and status to make a difference. Later she served as Chief of Logistics in the Ministry of State, Economy, Finance and Industry. In 2005 Nicolas Sarkozy began his bid for the presidency with Cecilia by his side every step of the way.
In 2007, Cecilia Attias became First Lady of France, where she continued to work with those in need. Today Attias serves as CEO of The Experience and also continues to lay the groundwork for the Cecilia Attias Foundation for Women, which will focus on the important issues facing women worldwide.
Attias, who lives in New York and Dubai shares her life and work with husband and famed event producer, Richard Attias, and is a proud mother to her three children, Judith, Jeanne-Marie and Louis.
"Inspiration comes to us in different ways; a life changing event, a book - something that compels us to choose the road towards selflessness, civic duty and hope. A moment in time when you realize you have a bigger purpose in life. For me that inspiration comes from music. Music is an important part of who I am. My great grandfather was Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz, and I began classical training at a very early age. Music for me transcends time and place. It is universal, crossing language, gender, racial and religious boundaries. It evokes emotion and soothes the soul. It reminds me there is a higher being at work and to that end reinforces my commitment and responsibility to those in need." ~Cecilia Maria Attias