Shanny Peer has been Director of the Columbia Maison Française since 2009. She earned a Ph.D. from New York University’s Institute of French Studies in 1992 and taught French Studies for ten years, at the University of Vermont and then NYU, where she was the only non-tenured faculty member to receive a Golden Dozen Award for teaching excellence in 1997. She was then Director of Policy Programs at the French-American Foundation for 8 years and worked briefly at Families and Work Institute on work-family policies before joining Columbia University.
Shanny Peer is the author of numerous scholarly articles and a book, France on Display: Peasants, Provincials, and Folklore in the 1937 Paris World’s Fair (1999), which won the Laurence Wylie Prize for Best Book in French Cultural Studies in 1999. She wrote several policy reports for the French-American Foundation, including Equal from the Start: Promoting Educational Opportunity for All Preschool Children: Learning from the French Experience and Equality of Opportunity in Education and Employment: French and American Perspectives. While at the French-American Foundation, she directed comparative policy programs on French and U.S. approaches to early childhood education, anti-discrimination/affirmative action policies, health care, and work-family policy. She also testified before the U.S. Senate (in the presence of Senators Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy), organized major conferences, and conducted study tours to France for high-level delegations including several U.S. governors and senators.
Shanny Peer's accomplishments as Director include spearheading the Centennial celebration of the Maison Française in 2013, researching and curating a physical exhibition, online exhibition, and catalog on the 100-year history of the Maison Française, and completing a major historic renovation of the Maison Française. She curates and produces the programming of the Columbia Maison Francaise, working in collaboration with partners across Columbia, including the Department of French, Institute of African Studies, Alliance Program, European Institute, Department of History, School of the Arts, Heyman Center for the Humanities, SIPA, and Earth Institute.
Shanny is co-curator and co-producer of the annual Festival du Monde NYC with Le Monde Media Group. The first annual festival was originally scheduled to take place at Columbia in April 2020, but was be postponed due to COVID and will be rescheduled in 2021 or 2022.
Shanny is currently also pursuing a passionate commitment to learning more about climate change, and working towards an M.A. in Climate and Society at Columbia's Earth Institute.
She was named a Knight (Chevalier) in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture in 2013. In 2019 she was named a Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor by the President of the French Republic. The award will be formally presented in a ceremony in the coming months.