Board of Directors
Meet the fantastique people who maintain the United States delegation of La Renaissance Française!
Bernie Duhaime is President of la Renaissance Française, USA. He has served on our board of directors since its founding. He has served as Honorary Consul of France for the states of Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Bernie is Past President of Alliance Française d’Omaha. He also served as Treasurer and Vice President of the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA. He is currently a member of the board and Treasurer of the American Friends of Musée d’Orsay.
Bernie recently was honored by the French Government with the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite.
Margot M. Steinhart is an educator, having taught French at high school and university levels. She holds a Ph.D. in French Literature from Northwestern University.
She has been a member of la Renaissance Française — USA Delegation since 2010. She is currently serving as Vice-President of la Renaissance Française — USA and of the American Society of the French Academic Palms, coordinator of the AATF French Advocacy Resource Bank, and board member of the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA.
She has also served in several leadership roles in francophone organizations, including president of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF), the American Society of the French Academic Palms (ASFAP), and the Alliance Française du North Shore (Illinois).
The French Government has awarded her the rank of Commandeur in the Ordre des Palmes académiques and of Chevalier in the Ordre national du Mérite. National recognition includes the Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in Foreign Language Education from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the Dorothy S. Ludwig Award for Excellence in Teaching from the AATF.
Liza Forshaw is a retired attorney in St. Louis, Missouri and a past president of the Alliance Francaise de St. Louis. She has served on numerous other nonprofit boards including those of the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Saint Louis-Lyon Sister Cities, the Princeton Club of St. Louis, and the Saint Louis University Library Associates, which confers the internationally prestigious Saint Louis Literary Award.
A descendant of early French-American settlers in Missouri, she loves the language, literature, music, art, architecture, opera, cinema, food, wines, and scenery of France.
Jane M. Robert
Jane Robert’s profession as a teacher of French enabled her to serve as President of multiple local and national French cultural organizations including the Federation of Alliances Françaises – USA, the Alliance Française de St. Louis and St. Louis-Lyon Sister Cities, Inc.
She was part of the founding of St. Louis Language Immersion Schools, La Renaissance Française-USA, and the American Friends of the Musée d’Orsay. The French government has named her Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques and Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor.
Ms. Robert has a Diplôme from La Sorbonne (Paris), a BA in French, Webster University (St Louis) and an MA in French from the University of Missouri (Columbia).
Gabriel de Broglie, Honorary President La Renaissance Française International
Philippe Etienne, Ambassador of France and Honorary President of La Renaissance Française, USA
Board of Directors
Élyanne Dezon-Jones (Ph. D Paris IV Sorbonne) was Professor of French Literature at Barnard College and Washington University.
A specialist of modern manuscripts, she published critical editions of Proust’s Swann’ Way and The Guermantes way, Yourcenar’s Correspondence and Marie de Gournay’s autobiograpical texts, as well as numerous articles on textual studies and French women writers.
She is also a novelist and has published a series of mysteries under the pen name Estelle Monbrun.
She is Chevalier dans l’ Ordre des Palmes Académiques and Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.She now shares her time between Paris and Sarasota, Florida.
Since the early seventies, Mary and her husband John have been involved in the performing arts in Milwaukee. Mary served as President of the Skylight Opera Theatre and the Friends of the Conservatory of Music, as well as on the Board of Trustees of the Conservatory. A fifty year volunteer for United Performing Arts Fund, she was Campaign Co-Chair in 1988 and in 1995 received the prestigious Stiemke Award for service to the Performing Arts. She served as Co-Chair of the Silver Renaissance Campaign in 1994 to renovate the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Her various volunteer activities with University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee led her to receive the Honorary Alumni Award in 2014.
Her love of the French language led her serve for many years as president of the Alliance Française de Milwaukee. To recognize the organization’s growth under her leadership, the French Government named her a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques. Mary served for 6 years on the Board of the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA as Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of The Federation Forum and Le Magazine. She is a founding board member of the American Friends of the Musée d’Orsay. In 2011 she received the Médaille d’Or du Mérite Francophone from La Renaissance Française.
Various other volunteer activities have included presidency of the Fox Point Foundation, Woman’s Club of Wisconsin, and Friends of the UWM Golda Meir Library, and board member of Malaika Early Learning Center and UWM Foundation.
George Sape is the President of The American Friends of the Cite du Vin (AFCV).
He was the Managing Partner of the national law firm, Epstein Becker & Green in New York. Prior to that, he held a number of government positions in Washington, DC. After working for the U.S. Department of State and the Federal Communications Commission, he served on the White House staff under President Nixon.
Sape is a graduate of University of Colorado at Boulder where he also earned his JD. George is active on many French-American organizations in the US including: French Heritage Society, American Friends of Blérancourt, and the American Society of the French Order of Merit. He was also elected as a Membre du Honneur to the prestigious l’Academie du Vin du Bordeaux.
He is a recipient of both the Ordre du Merite and Legion d’Honneur from the French Government.
Elaine Uzan Leary
Elaine Uzan Leary has over 45 years professional experiences in promoting French language and culture in Boston including the creation of the school of the Alliance Francaise in Boston, the French American Chamber of Commerce in Boston, the French Theatre in Boston, a founding trustee in the Boston Strasbourg Sister City Association, plus twelve years in foreign language publishing with Heinle and Heinle and later Houghton Mifflin Company. Prior to joining the American Friends of Blérancourt in July of 2008 in New York City, Elaine’s previous position was Executive Director of the French Library Alliance Francaise of Boston, considered New England’s most important French library, cultural center, and French language school. She was part of the New England Committee for the 400th Anniversary of Quebec, and launched the semaine de la Francophonie in Boston bringing together various francophone associations.
For the Franco-American Museum, Chateau de Blerancourt, she created and has managed the traveling exhibition “American Women Rebuilding France 1917-1924” since 2010 in 17 cities in the U.S. Raised bilingually in Auburn, Maine (nee L’Heureux of French Canadian ancestry) she graduated from Edward Little high School in 1965, and was educated in France, in Strasbourg and in Paris, a graduate of Stetson University in Deland, FL, plus a Master Degree in French from Middlebury College in Vermont, and a Masters in Communication from Emmerson College. Elaine Uzan Leary has received three French government awards: Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Chavalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite, and Chevalier de la Renaissance Francaise.
Sherry Johnson co-founded and was instrumental in building the American Friends of Musée d'Orsay (AFMO). A former professional tennis executive, Sherry and her family moved to London in 1990, where she became an active patron of several arts organization via American Friends support groups.
For ten years Sherry served on the AFMO Board as Vice-Chair - France. She identified and recruited the first full-time executive director, and as chair of the Nominating Committee she was instrumental in building, and strengthening, the AFMO Board and helped to secure key individuals from around the US to serve on the Board.
She has been a regular and significant financial supporter of AFMO. She is also an active patron of other Paris organizations that are committed to building French-American ties, including the American Library in Paris, the American Club of Paris, the American Cathedral in Paris, and the American Women’s Group in Paris.