From the News column of the February 2010 issue of Perspectives on History
NHA Invites Participation in the National Humanities Advocacy Day
AHA Staff, February 2010
The National Humanities Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 organizations involved in the humanities, invites AHA members and everyone else engaged in the humanities to participate in the events of the National Humanities Advocacy Day, scheduled to be held over two days, March 8 and 9, 2010, in Washington, D.C. The planned events include panel discussions on current developments in humanities policy; luncheon and keynote address with Jim Leach, the chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities (who played a leading role in previous humanities advocacy day events when he was a member of Congress); briefings on federal funding and legislative priorities; Capitol Hill reception; training for new advocates; and congressional visits. These events, which coincide with the annual meeting of the Alliance, have been very effective mechanisms for facilitating interaction between practitioners in the humanities and policymakers on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, apart from being useful training exercises for those interested in influencing public policy toward the humanities.
Explaining the importance of participating in the advocacy day events, Jessica Jones Irons, the executive director of the NHA, quoted from President Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, to indicate how his policies on scientific research and development were informed by the advocacy actions of natural scientists and engineers who came to Washington throughout Obama’s tenure as a member of the United States Senate to make the case for increased federal investment, and how his presidential policies are being shaped also by such advocacy efforts. The Humanities Advocacy Day attempts to do just that for the scientists’ counterparts in the humanities, and by participation in the events, said Jessica Jones Irons, “we can raise the profile of the humanities research and education community in Washington, and build an infrastructure for advocacy in the humanities for the long-term.”