The mission of Alliance Française Mpls/St Paul, an independent chapter of a worldwide organization, is to serve our community by promoting the use and appreciation of French language and cultures through language classes, cultural programs, social events and information resources.

Our vision is to build a community of people passionate about francophone culture in all its global diversity, and want to become–through high-quality native language instruction along with authentic and exciting cultural activities and social events–the indispensable destination for all things French!

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Founded in Paris in 1883, the Alliance Française promotes French language and culture. Worldwide there are over 1,135 chapters in 138 countries, with 130 chapters in the United States. The Alliance Française is the largest cultural network in the world.  Each Alliance Française is governed locally and is operated as an independent, non-profit, non-political, non-discriminatory organization.

AFMSP Yesterday

The Alliance Française began in Minnesota in the 1920s with a small group interested in the language and culture of France, led by University of Minnesota Professor Jacques Fermand.  By the 1950s, our local chapter had around 100 members.  On October 29, 1975, the chapter was incorporated as a non-profit organization in the state of Minnesota.  Today, the AFMSP has more than 1,000 members and over 900 students annually.


Every month, the Alliance Française hosts many cultural events for French speakers and Francophiles of all ages. Monthly activities include film groups and book clubs of varying levels of French. Also, we have a club for high schoolers, a young professionals group and monthly breakfast conversation groups for the community. Additionally, the Alliance Française hosts a Bastille Day celebration, musical events, concerts, lectures, conferences, holiday celebrations and more throughout the year.

Venez nous rendre visite!


Joly Center Staff


Christina Selander Bouzouina

Executive Director

Christina was born in Minneapolis and moved to Europe after college. After living in London and Montpellier, she spent nearly 9 years in Marseille, working as an English teacher and program coordinator in lycées and universities as well as several private institutions. Upon her return to Minnesota in 2007, she joined the Alliance Française de Minneapolis/St. Paul where she became the executive director in 2008. Christina was appointed Honorary Consul of France in Minnesota in 2014 and was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre de Palmes Académiques in 2015.


Alix Lewis-Sandrant

Education Director

Alix is the Education Director at AFMSP. She manages educational programs and staff. She is from NE Minneapolis and returned close to home after living in France for about a decade. She lived in Nantes, which is definitely worth a visit! She has a BA from St Olaf College with a major in French and History and an MA from the Institute of French Studies at New York University. She also completed a degree in FLE (Français Langue Etrangère). She enjoys spending time with her family, running and biking and she also loves the visual arts.


Sara Glesne

Cultural Events Coordinator

Sara was born and raised in Minneapolis where she received her bachelors in French Language and Mass Communication studies at the University of Minnesota. Her involvement at AFMSP began in 2015 as an event volunteer. She formerly worked as an English teaching assistant in Corrèze, a rural French department, where she built lifelong connections. After returning stateside, Sara worked as an immigration legal assistant with French and Spanish speakers before joining the Alliance’s team. She is passionate about translation, bicycling and immigrants’ rights. Her favorite part of event coordinating is connecting with artists, academics and the Twin Cities francophone community.



Development Director

Anna Scallon has been part of the AF team for over a decade. Her first experience with AFMSP was as a child, when she began her French studies with after-school classes held by the Alliance at her school. Following graduation from the University of Minnesota with a double major in French Studies and Comparative Literature, Anna returned to AFMSP as an intern. Later, she took on the roles of Volunteer and Membership Coordinator, then Development Coordinator. In a new position as AFMSP’s first Development Director, Anna works on the Annual Campaign and Capital Campaign fundraising, grant submissions and sponsorships, and organizes the annual gala and fall fashion fundraiser. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, going out with friends, spending time on the St Croix River and foraging in Wisconsin.


Brenna Mosser

Office Manager

Brenna Mosser is a dancer. She studied dance for three years in London and then three years in France. She currently dances with ARENA Dances and Threads Dance Project, as well as running her own company, Brenna Mosser Dance Works. Brenna loves working at the Alliance! Outside of dancing and French, Brenna enjoys spending her free time on prairie restoration projects, reading sci-fi novels, and camping.


Dominic Zahner

Facilities Coordinator

Dominic has worked with AFMSP as Facilities Coordinator for nearly four years and before that he served as Bastille Day intern. He was raised in the Twin Cities and discovered his passion for French in Mme. Sweeney's 10th-12th grade classes at St. Louis Park High School, later getting a degree in French from Marquette University. After graduating from Marquette, he spent 9 months in the Indian Ocean on the French island department of La Réunion as part of the TAPIF program. In his spare time, Dominic enjoys riding his bike, traveling the world, and going to baseball games. On Wednesdays you can usually find him in the Target Field cheap seats taking full advantage of the $1 hot dog promotion.


JAN Gonder

Business Manager

For the past nearly 22 years Jan has made a career as Business Manager for nonprofits in the Arts and Culture sector. Her grandmother was born near Nancy and was the initial source of Jan’s continuing interest in France and the french language. Working at the Alliance Française helps maintain and enrich the connection with french and francophone cultures both local and worldwide.

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ANNIE THompson

Administrative Coordinator

Annie’s passion for the French language began in early high school and has only grown since then. She completed a dual degree in French Studies and English Literature at the University of Minnesota, from which she graduated after completing a thesis on identity and the urban environment. After college, she moved to Angers, France where she taught English through the TAPIF program and developed a deep love for life in France. When not at the office, she is working on her never-ending list of books to read, running paths along the Mississippi, and exploring her way through the Twin Cities food scene.

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Kate Redetzke

Evening Receptionist

Kate is a student at the University of Minnesota studying French, Linguistics and Arabic. She is Alliance Française’s former teen club intern and is delighted to return to the team as an evening receptionist. She volunteers at the English Learning Center as an English and math tutor for adult immigrants and refugees in the Minneapolis area. She loves reading, hiking and traveling. Most recently her travels brought her to Spain, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Croatia, Switzerland and the Netherlands while she was based in Montpellier during a semester abroad.



Evening Receptionist

Lauren first joined Alliance Française as an event planning intern. Her passion for Francophone cultures and her warm personality made her transition to staff natural. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota. In her spare time Lauren enjoys gardening, weight lifting and spending time with her family’s French bulldogs.

Our instructors




Abdel is originally from Morocco, where he taught English as a foreign language for many years. He joined the Alliance Française team in April 2018, and feels fortunate to work as the host of Alliance Française’s Ciné Club as well as a part of a wonderful team of teachers. He is passionate about education, creative writing and cinema.



Anne-Sophie arrived in the Twin Cities in February 2018 as the education intern and is our current Educational Ambassador. She comes from a small town near Angers, a beautiful city in the Loire Valley. After studying French cuisine and a first stay in the USA, she decided to return to teach French as a second language and to share with people her beautiful language and the many cultures that go with it.



Information coming soon…



Bonjour from Damien! He has taught French at the Alliance since 2011. He comes from Vendée, on the French Atlantic coast, and now lives in Columbia Heights. He studied history and literature in Nantes.
In a previous life he was a sailing instructor in Western France. When he’s not teaching, Damien plays guitar, cooks (he is a trained crêpier!) and he loves to fish and garden. He has a passion for language and culture, and absolutely loves grammar :D
A bientôt!

Board of Directors

AFMSP Officers 2019 – 2020

Bryn VAALER, Chair


Karen ZENTNER BACIG, Vice Chair              

Jonathan VESSEY, Legal Counsel

Tanya GAJEWSKA, Secretary


Directors at large 
Michael MUSA
Jacqueline REGIS
Martine SAURET

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 For a century, Alliance Française has been promoting French language and French-speaking cultures through language classes, social and cultural events and information resources in Minnesota. An independent chapter of a world-wide organization, our Alliance Française is the 6th largest in the United States.

AFMSP plays a pivotal role in representing the global diversity of the French-speaking world in the Twin Cities and Rochester. Regardless of your language proficiency, nationality or background, everyone is always welcome.

Each year, we host 120 cultural events featuring local and international authors, scholars and artists, celebrating international cultures.  In addition to the classes taught at our offices, our programs in schools across Minneapolis, St Paul and beyond, inspire hundreds of children and young adults to become Francophiles and life-long French speakers.