ABOUT AF HAWAII

The Alliance Française was created in 1883 in Paris to encourage the propagation of the French language and culture and to foster friendly relations between France and the rest of the world. It is a non-profit organization exclusively for cultural purposes . The Hawaii chapter of the Alliance Française (AFH) is a relatively small but very active organization. Apart from special gatherings and fundraising activities, we offer three different conversation groups where members meet in a friendly setting to practice speaking French; luncheons featuring guest speakers who talk about some facets of the French culture; a biannual Immersion Day Program and more .

AFH was formed in 1961 and was incorporated in January 1962. Its goal is to encourage the study of French language and culture in Hawaii . It also encourages and funds programs to enable students and teachers from Hawaii to study in France or French-speaking countries. The AFH is managed by officers, elected for one year at the annual meeting by the Board of Directors. Directors and officers serve without pay. Committee chairs are chosen by the President and approved by the Board of Directors.

ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE OF HAWAII BOARD OF DIRECTORS  

Red indicates a bio is attached – click to read more about this board member!

President

Josette MARSH

Vice President

Phil SAMMER

Phil SAMMER

Phil Sammer has been a member of the Alliance Francaise of Hawai’i since 1971 when, upon completing his Master’s Degree at the University of Hawai’i, he received a scholarship to continue his French studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. Upon returning to Hawai’i Phil taught French language at various local high schools and Kapi’olani Community College as well as for the Alliance Francaise of Hawai’i. Phil moved to Tahiti in 1975 to begin a career in the hotel industry, returning to Hawai’i permanently in 1981. Over the years Phil has held all elected offices in the AFH including secretary, treasurer, president and, currently, vice president.

Treasurer

Heirama FEARON

Membership Chair

Kathryn KLINGEBIEL

Development Chair

Cathy PETTIT

Communications Chair

Stacey THOMAS

Scholarship Committee Chair

Anne Marie SHIM

Secretary

Patricia ROLLAND

Dr. Patricia Rolland

Dr. Patricia Rolland is a NAATI-certified (National Australian Association of Translators and Interpreters) professional translator/editor and interpreter of English and French. She received her PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Western Australia and her Postgraduate Diploma in Translation from the University of Surrey (UK). Her areas of specialization include financial and specialized marketing, press releases, e-learning and public relations. Her expertise includes computer-assisted translation (CAT tools). In addition, she is a certified conference interpreter in French and English and interprets in the medical and legal fields.

ExOfficio

Cathy PETTIT

Board Members

Blair BOONE-MIGURA

Blair Boone-Migura

Blair Boone-Migura is an arts administrator, adjunct faculty member at the University of Hawaii’s music department, and the public radio show co-host of “Singing & Other Sins” which airs Saturdays on HPR. He is also a published film and music journalist.

Blair holds a Bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance and a Master’s degree in French from Syracuse University. He also studied voice and piano at the Strasbourg Conservatory of Music in Strasbourg, France, and holds a second Master’s degree in Vocal Pedagogy from the Princeton Conservatory, Westminster. In addition to a fellowship appointment in French at Syracuse University, Blair has taught as an adjunct faculty member in music and French departments at various institutions throughout New York like The New School, Parsons School of Design, and Hunter College. He is currently a guest lecturer at UH where he teaches art song literature courses in French and German Art Song as well as Vocal Pedagogy.

Blair is the Founder of a nonprofit arts organization The Art Song Preservation Society of New York (ASPS) where he serves as Executive Director. ASPS presents recitals, master classes, community outreach programs, and a vocal competition each year in partnership with The Manhattan School of Music. He is a specialist in the art song composer Henri Duparc and has given art song recitals representing a variety of Romantic composers. 

Blair has had the honor of assisting the legendary pianist Dalton Baldwin, along with two of French songs most accomplished sopranos, Elly Ameling and Rosemarie Landry, and several other notable distinguished artists in the development and presentation of the Francis Poulenc Vocal Competition & Recital at the Bruno Walter Auditorium in the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library. He’s also collaborated with the French American Cultural Exchange and the Artistic Department of the French Cultural Services and aided in the execution of two art festivals: ART2, A French-American Platform on Contemporary Art, and DANSE, A French-American Festival of Performance & Ideas.

Blair is married to Dr. Anthony Migura, a critical-care physician at Advanced ICU Care, a pulmonary/ critical care staff member at Queens Hospital, and an Assistant Clinical Professor with UH Medical School. They divide their time between New York City and Honolulu, Hawai’i with their English Bulldog, Drew and American Tabby Cat, Jessye.

Christie BRIDGES

Christie Bridges

Christie Bridges has been a member of the Alliance Francaise for over thirty years and has served as the longtime coordinator of the jeudi soirees.  She was a co-conspirator in the establishment of the Saturday conversation groups, and she acts as the organizer/treasurer of the Saturday classes.   

Christie was a personal trainer for eighteen years and retired at the end of 2016.  Since she believes that working the brain is as important as working the body, learning and speaking French is the perfect complement to working out at the gym.  

Christie’s other interests include lifting weights, doing yoga and listening to opera and classical music.

Carole Marie HORTON

Carole Marie Horton

Born and raised in Quebec City, Canada, Carole Marie moved to Miami Beach shortly after graduation, wanting to escape the rigorous winters of her home country while seeking new lifestyle experience. She soon pursued a career as translator and representative in the travel and hotel industry by day, while moonlighting as a singer by night. When she married, she partnered with her husband and went on an uncommon journey that lasted thirty amazing years. During those years, she traveled extensively throughout the U.S. investigating fraudulent activity that put at risk the financial system of the country, and designed corrective measures to prevent recurring crisis and enhance the function and oversight of an industry prone to corruption. One major issue included the assessment of private and public pension fund investment whose assets were being depleted by insider manipulations, endangering millions of Americans retirement benefits. Their findings helped the Treasury and Justice Departments close the loopholes in the law that allowed these activities to flourish. Over the years, they introduced innovative programs to prevent fraud and secure pension benefits. This was of course no small endeavor, but it was one she took great pride in accomplishing. When her husband died, she left her career, moved to Hawaii, where she is pursuing a more relaxing occupation in estate management.

Joël KUSNIERZ

Joël Kusnierz

Joël is currently the Head Men’s Tennis Coach at the University of Hawai’i and has had a distinguished career in tennis that includes many awards from US Tennis Association Event in California. Joël’s interest in French language and culture stems from his French background which led him to create Hi Performance Tennis, a group that has traveled with a small group of tennis students from Hawaii and California to La Baule, France for the past three summers. The goal was for them to compete in various tournaments but also discover the French culture through sightseeing and culinary experiences.

Joël is a fairly new member of the Alliance Francaise of Hawai’i and has joined the board in order to participate more fully in the promotion of French culture and language in Hawai’i

Richard TURBIN

Richard Turbin

RICHARD TURBIN is the senior partner of Turbin Chu Heidt, where he practices in the areas of personal injury, wrongful death and medical malpractice in Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Turbin, as lead counsel has handled many arbitration hearings, trials and appeals involving medical malpractice and serious injuries. Mr. Turbin has taught and served as program chairman for numerous ABA programs and wrote various articles for those presentations. Mr. Turbin also wrote a chapter titled “Medical Malpractice with Regard to Ear, Nose and Throat Cases in Hospital Emergency Rooms,” a McGraw-Hill publication titled Medical Malpractice–Handling Emergency Room Cases.

Richard Turbin received his B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from Cornell University and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School. Mr. Turbin was chosen a Traphagen Distinguished Alumni speaker at Harvard Law School in 2004. Mr. Turbin was the recipient of the Pursuit of Justice Award of the Tort and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association in 2006.

Mr. Turbin served as the 2005 President of the Hawaii State Bar Association, and was elected to the Executive Board of the National Council of Bar Presidents of the American Bar Association “ABA.” Mr. Turbin was Chair of the Tort and Insurance Practice Section of the ABA from 1999 to 2000, with 30,000 members, and is the largest such organization in the world. Richard Turbin was elected President of the Consumer Lawyers of Hawaii for 2002 – 2003. Former Governor Ben Cayetano appointed Mr. Turbin to the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission. Former Governor Neil Abercrombie appointed Mr. Turbin to the Board of Governors of the East West Center, where he serves as the Chair of The Board of Governors.

In the community, Richard Turbin has served as Chair of the Waialae Kahala Neighborhood Board for many of the last 35 years as a member. Mr. Turbin has also served on Boards of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and the Alliance Francaise of Hawaii. Mr. Turbin is currently the President of the Friends of Justice and Civic Education of Hawaii

 Regis ROLANDO

Denis SALLE

Regents

Patricia LEE

Guillaume MAMAN

Guillaume Maman

GUILLAUME MAMAN – HONORARY CONSUL OF FRANCE IN HAWAII
The Consulate General of France in San Francisco appointed Guillaume Maman as Honorary Consul in Hawaii on May 06, 2015.

Consul Guillaume Maman has been a resident of Honolulu, Hawaii since 1987 and is originally from Paris, France. While in France, he served in the French Airborne Forces and received the medal of National Defense. He earned a French Baccalauréat in mathematics, physics and chemistry, a License in Economics at the University of Montpellier and a Master’s degree in Finance at La Sorbonne University in Paris. Since 1996, he has been heading a Hawaii based swimwear retail and manufacturing company, Loco Boutique, with locations in Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, Korea and Japan. He has also been the chairman of the Matsunaga Charitable Foundation since 2006, a board member of the Alliance Française of Hawaii since 2007 and the Regent since 2016. Prior to his current position, Mr. Maman held many executive positions with high profile companies such as Louis Vuitton and Waterford Wedgwood.
Mr. Maman is married to Mrs. Theresa Maman and has 2 sons: Alexandre and Adrian. Both sons were born in Hawaii, attended high school in France and came back to graduate from the University of Hawaii.

As Honorary Consul of France in Hawaii, Mr. Maman perpetuates the mission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris. He directly collaborates with the Consulate General of France in San Francisco to provide assistance in administrative affairs and protection of French nationals settled or traveling within the state of Hawaii. He also represents the French Republic at official and cultural events in Hawaii and facilitates in deepening the relations between France and the United States.

“I feel blessed to have been raised in France and built an executive career in Hawaii. This provided me with a deep understanding of the cultural differences and similarities between these two places I call home. I hope to serve as a bridge between France and Hawaii” remarked Consul Maman.

The Honorary Consul of France office is located at 1436 Young Street, Suite 303, Honolulu, HI 96814.
Hours of operation- Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4pm to 6pm or by appointment Monday thru Friday.
Phone: 808-726-3866
Email: consulfrancehawaii@gmail.com

Magda ALEXANDER

Magda Alexander

My name is Magda Alexander. I was born in Bordeaux, France. My parents were refugees from the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 as they escaped from Franco’s regime. I spent most of my youth in southern France (Landes and Basque Country) and went multiple times to visit my grandparents on the Spanish side of the border (San Sebastian) and occasionally to the Catalonian side where my father’s family was from (Barcelona area). At home, my parents insisted that my sisters and I spoke Spanish and naturally French outside which made us bilingual from an early age. Later on we studied English at school as part of the curriculum.

After getting a business degree and working in Paris for 3 years in a tax office near the Champs Elysées, I received an invitation to visit one of my childhood friends, Colette, who was heading the French House of the prestigious Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She sponsored me as an “au pair girl” for a while and though it wasn’t my thing it got me a foot in the door of “America” and all the dreams that go along with that magic word! The year was 1967! Later on, around 1968, I worked in the French Department of the University of MA and got my working papers and the Green Card through them. I also worked in Academia, a Language School in Cambridge, MA, teaching French and Spanish classes to adults. By the way, this is when I met fellow AFH director Richard Turbin, who happened to be my next door neighbor. He left shortly after he received his degree from Harvard Law School, but we reconnected in Hawaii 10 years later by pure chance!

While working in a Travel Agency in Cambridge, I won a trip for 2 weeks to the Barrier Reef in Australia! In the meantime, I married Joseph Alexander and we decided to leave Massachusetts because we couldn’t face another freezing winter. We took a few months off to travel the US; Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, and finally California where we were thinking to settle down. But before that, we took advantage of my ticket to Australia and decided to explore Sydney and Surfers Paradise which were beautiful!

On the way back to California, we stopped in Fiji for 5 days and in Hawaii for another 5 days. It was in December 1970 and when I saw Santa Claus in shorts on the beach in Waikiki, I thought, “This is Paradise and I never want to leave…”

That’s when I decided to call the Alliance Française and asked Madame Anita Hecht, who was the President at the time, if they had an opening for a French teacher and to this day I still remember her answer, “As a matter of fact, we are looking for one.” These words were music to my ears and after an interview with Nelly Hardy, I got the job and was asked to start the week after with a couple of classes at different levels meeting twice a week. Remember, we were on stop over, so now, what should we do? That same day, Joseph and I found a small apartment near the Ilikai Hotel, went back to California to get our stuff and settled in Hawaii a few days later. This was the beginning of my wonderful “adventure” and life in Hawaii!

I worked 3 years as a French teacher for the Alliance Française as well as for the YWCA downtown and taught some Spanish informally in my living room, until my husband decided that it was time to open our own school which naturally I named after the one in Cambridge, “Academia Language School”. I stepped down from teaching at the Alliance Française but I remained a faithful member up to this day.

The school was very successful for 40 years until Joseph and I decided to retire and sell it but it’s still there offering mainly ESL courses for foreigners.

To summarize, I want to say that I will be eternally grateful to the Alliance Française for giving me the opportunity to work and live in Hawaii which has been a blessing throughout my life. And now I am proud to be a Regent of this illustrious organization and carry on the culture and expansion of the language to the younger generations.

Merci mille fois donc à l’Alliance Française à qui je souhaite de nombreuses années encore de succès à Hawaii et dans le monde!!!