Mimi Chapin Gregory takes a worldview of life from her home in Naples. Her interest in foreign affairs has spanned 25 years. After living in Paris from 1978 to 1980 as a recruiter for the banking industry, she connected with French language and culture. “There’s never enough time in France,” she says. “I wanted to keep a thread of French life.”
In 1983, she became involved with the Alliance Française, an organization for Francophiles with 114 chapters in the United States, and has served as president of several chapters and is currently national president.
In 1990, she was decorated by the French government as a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, and in October she was awarded the Grade of Commander in the National Order of Merit, a civilian recognition of her service to France. “It’s a tremendous honor of which I’m very proud,” she says.
Gregory has also served local and national offices in the Council on World Affairs, traveling on leadership missions to Lebanon, Kuwait, Israel, Egypt, Taiwan, Germany and Iraq. When war broke out in her ancestral Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Gregory worked to ease the plight of refugees, arrange medical care for wounded children, and obtain needed medical equipment. She even traveled to the area during the war.
“Any time there is a conflict of ethnic nature, people of that background come together to do something to help,” she says. “Going to the war zone is something you feel deep in your soul.”