Elaine Uzan Leary, La Médaille d’Or de Solidarité et Valeur


Born Elaine Vivian L’Heureux in Auburn, Maine of a Franco-American family, Elaine’s many accomplishments reflect a true Francophone and Francophile passion.


Elaine is a graduate of Stetson University in Deland, Florida; Universite de Strasbourg, France; Middlebury College Graduate School in Vermont; and Emerson College in Boston.  She began her professional career as a French teacher in Connecticut in 1969 then in Massachusetts starting in 1973.


In Boston, Elaine became involved in many French organizations and co-founded the school of the Alliance Francaise of Boston in 1973, as well as the French Theatre in Boston, Compagnie Bernard Uzan.  She served as trustee for the Boston-Strasbourg Sister City Association and launched the French-American Chamber of Commerce of New England.


From 1985 to1997 Elaine‘s career moved to textbook publishing for Heinle & Heinle Publishers and Houghton-Mifflin Company, where as Marketing Manager she received many awards for the successful promotion of materials for the French language, other foreign languages and English as a second language in both secondary schools and colleges.


Her last position in Boston was as Executive Director of the French Library and Cultural Center/Alliance Francaise of Boston from 2001-2008, known as the French Cultural Center.  In 2003 she created the first Fete de la Francophonie at Boston City Hall, bringing together all French-related organizations in New England for the first time. Elaine has created many scholarships for students in Boston public schools and a French after-school program for Haitian children, and most recently chairs the scholarship committee for the American Society of the French Order of Merit, which supports bilingual education in New York public schools.


In June 2008, she was a member of the New England committee for the 400th anniversary of the founding of the City of Quebec, which proudly presented a monument to Quebec honoring the French Canadians who came to New England.


Since summer 2008, Elaine has been the Executive Director of the American Friends of Blerancourt in New York, which supports the Franco-American Museum, Chateau de Blerancourt, in Picardy, France.  She is responsible for the traveling exhibition “American Women Rebuilding France 1917-1924,” seen by over 110,000 people to date and scheduled to be in eight other U.S. cities during 2014-2015.


Past French government awards: 2005  Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite; 1988  Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Letters.  Elaine currently lives in New York City near her daughter Vanessa Uzan, Managing Director of Uzan International Artists, a talent management company.