e-Toile: Ms. Gregory, you have been working in an exemplary manner in favor of the promotion of the French language and culture in the United-States for more than 30 years. Can you talk about the experience that bound you to France and guided you to chair several Alliance francaises in the United-States?
Mimi Gregory: Certainly the desire to keep the French I had spoken in France while living there for two years was very important to me upon my return to the United States, and encouraged me to become involved with the Alliance Francaise.
I soon learned the pleasure of sharing the beauty of the language and the culture with friends from different chapters, and it gave me the opportunity to support the purpose of the Alliances Francaises in the United States.
I am always mindful of the mission of the Federation of Alliances Francaises USA, that of “supporting French language and culture as it is practiced around the globe”.
e-Toile: You have just been promoted to the Grade of Commander in the National Order of Merit after being awarded the insignias of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in 1990. What does this recognition mean to you?
Mimi Gregory: This honor that I have received has touched me enormously. There is not more that I can say except that I am so proud, so moved, to have received this distinction by decree of President Sarkozy. I am also profoundly touched by the confidence that our Consul General, Gaël de Maisonneuve, has shown in me. This is an honor that I will hold dear for all my life, with great humility.
e-Toile: If you are very active on the education field, you are also very involved on the humanitarian sector. Can you describe your engagement?
Mimi Gregory: On the humanitarian side, there are two efforts where I have given much of my time over the years.
Firstly, during the Balkan War of the 1990’s, I worked with a committee of the diaspora in New England to aid the refugees: to furnish medicines, a respirator for a hospital, clothing, air travel for the wounded to be brought to New England hospitals for treatment, and to act as one of the spokespersons for the Serbian Diaspora. As I am of Serbian heritage, this effort was very important for me.
I have also given a good deal of support for the Cancer Center of Massachusetts General Hospital, to help the sick, to inform patients of research that could result in new treatment, to organize forums and luncheons to offer opportunities for the doctors to speak to people about new research and treatments. As I am a cancer survivor, I must help others and give them a measure of hope by my example.