News

NHA Holds Conference and Humanities Advocacy Day

AHA Staff, May 2007

NHA Policy Forum

The 2007 conference of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) was held March 26–27, 2007, in Washington, D.C. The event began in the Ronald Reagan Building on March 26 with a policy forum and roundtable discussion featuring federal agency representatives. Topics included capacity building and infrastructure support, fellowships and resources for scholars, public programs, collaborative research, preservation, education, international education and cultural exchange, and the humanities and technology.

Bruce Cole, chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, addressed the attendees, and discussed new NEH initiatives. The morning session concluded with the National Humanities Alliance's annual business meeting for member representatives.

At a luncheon sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, delivered a keynote address to 150 participants. Weinstein expressed admiration for the work of humanities advocates and answered questions from the audience.

At the conclusion of the afternoon's legislative briefing and advocacy training, attendees enjoyed a cocktail hour sponsored by The History Channel. Attendees heard remarks from Libby O'Connell, chief historian of the History Channel, and senior vice president, corporate outreach, A & E Television Networks.

On Tuesday, March 27, 112 humanities advocates visited more than 150 House and Senate offices representing 26 states and the District of Columbia. These grassroots advocates distributed issue briefs and state grant data, and asked members of Congress to support increased funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Historical Publications and Records Commission. To facilitate the advocacy visits, the NHA had compiled a source book (online at www.nhalliance.org/conference/2007/sourcebook) with historical funding data, recent grants by state, and issue briefs.

Libby O'Connell and Lee White

This year's Capitol Hill event was co-sponsored by the History Channel, and its chief historian Libby O'Connell provided brief remarks to attendees before they began their congressional visits.

Earlier that day, more than 100 humanities supporters gathered in the Rayburn House Office Building to view humanities exhibits and listen to remarks from NEH chair Bruce Cole, and the new Congressional Humanities Caucus co-chair, Reprsentative Phil English (R-Pa.).

The projects showcased the breadth of humanities projects receiving federal funding from agencies such as the NEH, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The presentations included:

The RACE Project of the American Anthropological Association; an NEH bookshelf put together by the Association of American University Presses; Landmarks Workshops in American History and Culture by the Community College Humanities Association; the symposium on science, reason and modern democracy organized by Michigan State University; the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University Libraries, Newark; a publishing in the humanities project presented by the Society of Biblical Literature; the Pepys Ballad Archive at the University of California at Santa Barbara; NEH an NEH summer institute and seminar at the University of California at Santa Cruz; the Marco Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of Tennessee; and the Papers of George Washington project of the University of Virginia Press.

—Adapted from text composed by Erin Smith (National Humanities Alliance).