Board of Directors

The Alliance Française de Charlotte is fortunate to have a talented and eclectic group of dedicated Board Members, each of them bringing something unique to the table. They generously give of their time and expertise for the benefit of our organization. We couldn't exist without them!

BOARD 2017-2018

Céline Thiria: President
Céline and her family have been living in Charlotte for 11 years. She is very involved as a volunteer with schools in Fort Mill. She has been a member of the Alliance Française de Charlotte for five years. She initially helped with the Alliance’s website and later joined the Board as Vice President. Throughout these years, she has participated in the Alliance’s activities and has also organized many events mainly related to French traditions.

Rémi Thiria: Treasurer
Rémi is an Engineer in chemistry with a Ph.D. degree in Material Sciences. He has been working for the company Bluestar Silicones (formerly Rhône-Poulenc) for 15 years in the Research & Development department. One of his hobbies is baking (a kind of chemistry too!) and his favorite pastry is the Mille-feuille, most commonly known here as Napoleon. Rémi has been a member of the Alliance Française de Charlotte for four years. He was in charge of memberships for the past two years. Rémi has shown his appreciation for the Alliance not only by participating and organizing events, but also by sharing with passion the French culture and language.

Charles Cassar: Vice-President
Charles arrived in the area in 2011 and joined the Alliance in 2013. He currently works for a French domain name registrar and web host investing on the US market. He took over the management and ensures the proper functioning of the website of the alliance since 2015. Besides the Alliance, Charles is a volunteer in a Boy Scout troop to share his passion for Scouting which started during his childhood in France.

Lydie Surget: Vice-President Events
Lydie Surget is a chemical engineer who has worked in the cosmetics and perfumery industry for more than 10 years, including 2 years in New Jersey and also for more than 12 years teaching physics sciences in AEFE French high schools. She left France more than 20 years ago and has lived in the United States, Australia, Canada and recently in Singapore. She came to Charlotte in January of 2017 and joined the Alliance in February of the same year. Lydie was part of other Alliances Françaises including in Nashville, TN and Singapore, each time as a participant and volunteer. Today she is more involved and want to share her experience to enrich our group.

Aurore Mercelat : Vice-President Secretary
Aurore is passionate about science and the environment. She moved to Charlotte in 2016 to pursue her career as a research engineer in water treatment right after finishing graduate school in Austin, TX where she lived 6 years. She is originally from the South West of France and now loves to regularly go back and visit her family in Brittany. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities and baking French delicacies.

Monique Delavignette: Classes Director
Monique is originally from Belgium, where she was a teacher. She moved with her husband Gérard in Canada, where they lived many years close to Montréal and had two children. After those great years, they relocated to Colorado where her husband found a job opportunity. After more than ten years in that wonderful state and a short stay in Indiana, they settled up in Charlotte four years ago. Since then they have been members of the Alliance Française de Charlotte. Monique has been a French teacher at Alliance for three years and a Class Director for two years. In Colorado, she worked at an International Baccalaureate elementary school. She loves teaching French to adults who register with the Alliance.

Arlette Dupont: Teacher
Originally from Bordeaux I have lived in the US for several years, residing in several different states. I have also lived in Germany and in Quebec. I studied in Bordeaux in view of getting an English degree, but life decided otherwise. After arriving in Charlotte, I attended CPCC in the College Transfer program. I also obtained a diploma in Medical Assisting. I then worked in the medical field for 30 years. I taught French at the École du Samedi for 6 years , in the mean time, I also taught at the Alliance Française where I' m still teaching I also do private tutoring. Sharing the French language with people willing to meet the challenges of learning its complexity is a real pleasure for me.

Yvonne Kponou: Teacher
Yvonne comes from Freetown, Sierra Leone, where she worked as Director of Studies at the largest International school in the country and lectured French at the University of Sierra Leone. She later on served as external examiner to the same University. Although she was born and bred an anglophile, Yvonne had her tertiary education in Tours, where she gained a Masters degree as well as an Interpreter-Translator’s Diploma AIC. She has lived in Charlotte for the last 5 years during which she has given French lessons at AF, Queens University of Charlotte and specialized language courses to a doctoral student doing anthropological studies at Yale University. Yvonne is married to Dr Ahovi Kponou and together they have 5 children. She has been a member of AF for 5 years.