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Nicole Yancey, La Médaille d’Or de La Renaissance Française

The events surrounding Nicole Yancey’s birth influenced her goals in life, having been born in the Berry region of France at the most desperate of times for her parents, who were of Jewish descent. Soon after, she and her sister were taken in by a farmer’s family, which resulted in her wanting to make an impact on a better understanding between nations and their peoples.

America was at the heart of the liberation of France, and although she was much too young to remember it all, the name always carried a magical sound. Later she learned of the French aid in the American Revolution, which increased her desire to discover America.

She was given that opportunity through the Franco-American Women’s Club of the US Army Communications Zone , enrolling in college in Virginia. There she met her husband and has lived in the “Peninsula” for the last 50 years. She has dipped into the region’s rich history, and has served as liaison for French participation in the celebration

of the American bi-centennial. She has contributed to American participation in events in France commemorating the bi-centennial of 1789, especially a “son et lumière” at the Rochambeau estate. Ms. Yancey has taught French, and was appointed Honorary Consul of France. This role opened the door for her to further promote French language and culture, as well as the Franco-American friendship through cultural events, international festivals, lectures, concerts, exhibits and loans from French museums.

In 2009 she initiated the creation of the French-American school in Norfolk, VA t which is working with the Mission Laique Française, the Ministry of Defense and Norfolk Public Schools. In addition, she has cooperated in the creation of sister cities across her state and serves as liaison with the National Park Service to trace the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail. The new wayside marker “Converging on Yorktown” will be unveiled on June 5, 2015, as the Hermione sails into the York River.

Nicole left the consular office after 25 years, and was awarded the National Order of Merit, the National Order of the Legion of Honor and the Commonwealth of Virginia House Resolution No. 976.


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