Board Members



President: Stephen Smith, Ph.D

An American citizen, former correspondent in Africa for Reuter and Radio France Internationale, journalist at Libération and Le Monde, Stephen Smith is a writer and a professor at Duke University in the African & African American Studies department. He leads the Center for French and Francophone Studies at Duke.

Vice-President: Monique Copeland

A French Canadian native, Monique Laniel Copeland is a Sales Manager for Citrix Systems, a digital workspace, networking, security and analytics technology company. She has been on the French Alliance board since 2017. She lived in Paris, Montreal and has been living in Raleigh for the last 28 years


Secretary: Hélène Crié-Wiesner

A French-American citizen, writer, and journalist, Hélène Crié has worked for many years at Libération, a national French news daily, and for the national public radio France Inter. Based in the USA since 2000, she now writes for French media as a freelancer.


Treasurer: Claire Gellion

A French American citizen, former project manager for the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development, computer engineer in research center in France, Claire Gellion grew up in Africa and lived in several countries across the world. She moved to Chapel Hill  in 2010.



Sandrine Pauwels

A French citizen, Sandrine Pauwels has lived in North Carolina since 1999. She is a librarian-archivist and worked for Duke University from 2014 to 2016 as the assistant of the Center for French and Francophone Studies.


Michèle Darrah

A French-American citizen, retired teacher from NCSU and musician, Michèle Darrah has chaired the Alliance française for more than twenty years.


Allen Taylor

An American citizen, former French teacher, gardener and landscaper, Allen Taylor is one of those who founded the Alliance française of Raleigh in 1988.


Edmund Tiryakian

Edmund Tiryakian, US citizen married to a Savoyarde, is a former lawyer and investment banker who spent his career in Hong Kong, ran marathons around the world, has tracked mountain gorillas in Rwanda and bonobos in Congo.  He has now retired to his native North Carolina, living in the unexplored wilds of Hillsborough, where he tends to chickens, bees, cats and dogs in modest attempts to be a gentleman farmer. 

Alliance Française's Staff

Claire Barthelemy



I was born in the South of France and raised in Paris.  I obtained a Master's in Literature from University Paris X and a Business degree from INALCO Paris. I went on working as an International Sales Manager in the Medical Device Industry for 15 years, home based in Italy, Germany, Israel, the Ivory Coast and the Netherlands. I moved to the US in 2000 to marry my husband Michael.  We relocated from California to Raleigh in 2017 with our teen-age son and 3 dogs.

Executive Director

Permanent Volunteers: 

  • Jack Brickley

  • Tim Seigler

  • Lisë Osvold

  • Mary Roberts

  • Qirui Zhang

  • Kristen Wilson


Rebecca Rumpf

I was born and raised in South Carolina, where I earned a BA in French from Clemson University. During my university studies, I spent a semester at l'Université de Rennes II, Haute-Bretagne. I taught English at the Lycée Allende, l'école Montmorency and l'Ecole Quesnel, all of which are in Hérouville-St. Clair.  After completing this assistantship in Normandy, I earned an MA in French from Middlebury College in Vermont and Paris. In the U.S., I have taught high school and elementary School in Vermont, Massachusetts and North Carolina. 

Nathalie Gaut

Originally from Bordeaux, I moved to New York City 27 years ago with my husband who was then studying at Parson’s School of Design. I worked at Air France for a few years while studying for my  Master's degree in Education at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. I went on to teach at the Alliance Française of Boston, where I was named Teacher of the Year in 2003.  I was also awarded a grant to design and implement an after-school curriculum to teach French in 5 Boston public schools.  After we relocated to Chapel Hill in 2007, I took a teaching position at East and Carrboro High School.




I was born and raised in Lille, in the North of France, where I obtained my nursing diploma. I moved to Chapel Hill in 1999 and stayed home to raise my four children. In 2003, I started teaching French to school students by applying the CNED (National Center for Distance Education) program. I realized that teaching French and helping others discover French culture was a passion for me.  I received my accreditation as a DELF / DALF examiner In 2014 and have been working as a French tutor ever since.



I’m originally from Réunion Island, a small French island in the Indian Ocean. I moved to Raleigh in 2015 to complete my Master’s degree in International Business, and have been living there with my husband and husky ever since.

I’ve had the chance to travel to over 15 countries all over the world and have always loved learning new languages and experiencing new cultures. Now I love that I get to teach and share my own language and culture with my students in the Triangle.



Originally from Paris, I have lived in Cary since 2011. I graduated from ESGI International Business and Marketing School in Paris. I followed my husband to North Carolina after he completed his Master's degree at NCSU and found a job in the Triangle. I became a full time teacher when I moved to the US and have enjoyed teaching French to non-French speakers ever since.

I am a Franco-American soprano. I was born and raised in Paris, France and later moved to the United States. I graduated from Northwestern University in 2019 with a B.M in Vocal Performance and a B.A in French. This fall, I am beginning my Master's program at the Thornton School of Music at USC. 

I teach private voice lessons on Facetime, Zoom, or Skype to work on your repertoire of choice or general technique.

I also teach at the Alliance Française of Chicago.

Mariam Abboud

I am Lebanese, and grew up speaking French and Arabic between Paris, France, and Saida, South Lebanon. Lebanon used to be a French protectorate and remains proudly francophone to this day. In 2006, I graduated the French Faculty of Medicine at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, and in 2008, moved to the US to complete my medical training at Cooper University Hospital in New Jersey, where I met my husband Michael.  We have lived and worked in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Florida, and recently moved to Chapel Hill.

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Contact Us

Upon appointment only:

5510 Munford Road

Raleigh, NC 27612

(919) 985-3919

© 2017 by Alliance Française of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill