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The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sent the following email on February 27, 2014.

Last chance to register for NHA Annual Meeting and Humanities Advocacy Day

Registration deadline: Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 10–11, 2014
George Washington University’s Marvin Center and Capitol Hill
Washington, DC

Advocating Locally for National Impact

The 2014 NHA annual meeting will look beyond broad arguments for the value of the humanities to make the case that fostering and demonstrating impact in local communities is critical to increasing support for the humanities among elected officials and the general public. The meeting will feature a series of speakers who will explore: ways to engage local communities in humanities research, teaching, preservation, and programming; the benefits of publicly engaged work to institutions, students, and communities; the role that the humanities can play in the lives of students as they pursue a variety of career paths and goals; and ways to involve elected officials in this work.

Over the last five years, the humanities have faced particular challenges on the state level, as governors and state legislatures have sought to direct funding and students to other courses of study. This year’s annual meeting will feature two speakers from Texas who can speak to the importance of expanding the role of the humanities in their communities amid the challenging state context.

Participants will also learn about efforts to foster increased collaboration between academic institutions and public humanities organizations with the goal of increasing connections with the broader public.

Click here for a preliminary program.

Registration

Click here to register today.
Registration: $100
Deadline: March 1, 2014

Featured Speakers

Francisco Cigarroa, Chancellor, University of Texas System, and a Member of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences

One of ten children, Francisco Cigarroa is a third generation physician. He graduated from Yale University in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and earned his medical degree in 1983 from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Cigarroa joined the faculty of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1995, where he served as director of pediatric surgery before serving as president of the institution from 2000 to 2009. In 2003, President George W. Bush appointed him to serve on the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science. In 2009, Cigarroa became the first Hispanic to be named chancellor of the University of Texas System. As chancellor, he oversees one of the largest public systems of higher education in the nation, which consists of nine universities and six health institutions. President Barack Obama has appointed Cigarroa to serve as a commissioner on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he also serves on the academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.  Cigarroa is a nationally renowned transplant surgeon and continues to perform liver and kidney transplant surgeries.

Elva Concha LeBlanc, President, Northwest Campus, Tarrant County College District

Elva Concha LeBlanc is president of the Northwest Campus of Tarrant County College District (TCCD). Northwest Campus is one of five campuses of TCCD, a multicampus, single college district of over 50,000 enrollments. Previously, as president of Galveston College, she led the transformation of that institute into a “learning college” with a focus on student learning, assessment, and outcomes. Prior to serving Galveston, LeBlanc was executive vice president for instructional affairs at Austin Community College. A former Tarrant County College student and alumna of the University of North Texas, LeBlanc served TCCD as professor, faculty chair, director of institutional effectiveness, and dean of instruction.

Carol Muller, Professor of Music, University of Pennsylvania

The South African–born Carol Muller is professor of music and current director of the Africa Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She has published widely on South African music, at home and in exile. Her intellectual interests are in issues of gender, religion, music, diaspora, and postcolonial studies, and her most recent is a book coauthored with South African jazz singer, Sathima Bea Benjamin, called Musical Echoes: South African Women Thinking in Jazz (Duke University Press, 2011); another book, Shembe Hymns (University of KwaZulu Natal Press, 2011), was edited by Muller and translated by Bongani Mthethwa. Muller was topic director for the Penn Humanities Forum (2003–4) on subject of Belief. She has done pioneering work in ethnomusicology on issues of civic engagement, community partner and student research in West Philadelphia, and has experimented with online learning over the last decade—her Coursera–Penn course Listening to World Music attracted 37,000 students in its first iteration—it was one of the first humanities courses offered as a MOOC. Muller is also a gumboot dancer.

David Scobey, Executive Dean, New School for Public Engagement

David Scobey is a national leader in developing innovative methods to engage institutions of higher education with communities outside the academy. He was previously director of the Harvard Center at Bates College in Maine, established to bring together community-based learning and research, cocurricular work, and environmental stewardship. He is the founder and former director of the University of Michigan’s Arts of Citizenship program, an initiative to integrate civic engagement and the liberal arts. He serves on the boards of Project Pericles, an organization that encourages universities to include civic engagement as an element of undergraduate education, and Bringing Theory to Practice, a project that links education as a public good with civic engagement and concern for the well-being of individual students.



Arts Victory in Congress!

posted by Linda Downs


Nina Ozlu Tunceli, executive director of Americans for the Arts, sent the following email on January 14, 2014.

Arts Victory in Congress!

Victory – your voice was heard on Capitol Hill.

Late last night, Congress released the details of its massive FY 2014 Omnibus spending bill. I am pleased to share that the online petition that you and 40,000 other arts advocates signed this fall helped lead the way to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) being allocated $146 million for the year. We cannot thank you enough for taking the time to sign and share our petition.

Because of members like you, arts advocates successfully prevented a proposed 49% budget cut from taking place!

In fact, this new funding level is, in effect, an increase over last year’s since Congress is suspending the automatic sequester cuts that began last year. NEA will now have the full spending power of $146 million to invest in community-based arts programs across the country.

Together, we provided a strong voice for the arts. We now need your support to continue this momentum with the 2014 midterm elections right around the corner. With so many Members of Congress retiring, please consider contributing today to help us educate the next generation of elected leaders.




Anne Collins Goodyear, president of CAA’s Board of Directors, and Linda Downs, the organization’s executive director, signed the following letter.

Letter Urging Secretary John Kerry to Restore Funding for Title VIII by December 6

December 4, 2013
The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

The undersigned individuals and organizations share with the Department of State the fundamental goal of creating a peaceful, secure, and prosperous global future. To achieve such an end in an increasingly complex world, the U.S. needs accurate analyses by well-trained specialists both in and outside the government.

For the region of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, the Department of State has for thirty years trained future leaders and scholars through the Research and Training for Eastern Europe and the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union Act (PL 90-164, Title VIII). Title VIII has played a significant part in the education of many prominent American policymakers and specialists in the region, including former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice, and US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. We are writing to you today to urge you to restore funding for the Title VIII program and to include funding for the Title VIII program as part of your fiscal year 2015 budget request.

Title VIII programs in fiscal year 2012 were administrated by the Bureau of Intelligence and Research and supported by the Department of State at a level of $3.5 million. Despite its low cost, Title VIII is a program that continues to have a significant impact on the analytic and diplomatic capacities of the Department of State and on the research base in the academic sector.

At stake are programs that support policy-relevant research, advanced language training, and a specialized information clearing house and reference service related to countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus, Russia and Eastern Europe. A remarkably high percentage of US university faculty who teach about Eastern Europe and Eurasia, State Department specialists on the region, and think tank analysts who advise policymakers have conducted their field work and research and obtained advanced language proficiency thanks to programs funded by Title VIII.

Although the Department of State solicited applications for a fiscal year 2013 Title VIII program, the Department in September announced the cancellation of the program for fiscal year 2013. We believe the discontinuation of this program is short-sighted and not in the national interest. We urge you to use existing authority to continue to fund this program under the administration of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at least at the current funding level of $3.5 million for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. We also ask that you include at least that level of funding within the fiscal year 2015 budget request for the Title VIII program.

Title VIII is a small but impactful program that has directly supported several generations of policymakers, diplomats and scholars and indirectly supported their thousands of students and the people who depend on their analyses to make the right business, humanitarian, and foreign policy decisions about a crucial region of the world.

We respectfully draw your attention to this issue and strongly urge that the Department of State immediately take steps to restore funding for the Title VIII program.

Sincerely,

Diane Koenker
President, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Professor of History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Stephen Hanson
Vice President, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Vice Provost of International Affairs, College of William and Mary

Judith Deutsch Kornblatt
Immediate Past President, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Professor Emerita of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Wisconsin

Lynda Park
Executive Director, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Dan Davidson
President, American Councils of International Education

William Rivers
Executive Director, National Council for Languages and International Studies

Laura Adams
Director of the Program on Central Asia and Caucasus, Harvard University

Anne Collins Goodyear
President, College Art Association
Codirector, Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Linda Downs
Executive Director, College Art Association




The National Humanities Alliance sent the following email on October 30, 2013.

Oppose Devastating Cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities!

Now that the government shutdown is over and Congress is beginning new budget negotiations, the proposed 49 percent cut to the National Endowment for the Humanities is back on the table. Just last week, one of the budget negotiators invoked the cut as he questioned the appropriateness of NEH grants. You can make sure that his are not the last words that our elected officials hear on the value of NEH by sending a message today.

We need you, your friends, and your colleagues to send messages in support of renewed investments in the humanities. Thousands of messages from advocates helped to put the proposed cuts on hold this summer, and by sending this new message, you can oppose the cuts and help restore NEH’s critical support for the humanities.

Lend your name to the effort by sending a message to your elected representatives.

Click here to send a message.Help us reach more advocates by sharing this message with your friends.

Background

In its FY 2014 budget resolution, the House of Representatives Budget Committee called for the complete elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, writing that the programs funded by NEH “…go beyond the core mission of the federal government, and they are generally enjoyed by people of higher-income levels, making them a wealth transfer from poorer to wealthier citizens.” The House subcommittee that oversees the NEH’s appropriation has followed through on the spirit of this resolution by approving a 49 percent cut to the agency’s budget.

Funding for NEH is already at just 29 percent of its peak and 62 percent of its average.

After years of deep cuts, the Obama Administration has proposed restoring some of NEH’s capacity with a 12 percent increase in funding.

Click here to send a message.

Share with your friends!



New NHA Memo to Members

posted by Linda Downs


The executive director of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sent the following email on October 25, 2013.

New NHA Memo to Members

Dear NHA Member Representatives,

I am writing with the first edition of NHA’s new Memo to Members. Please click here for:

  • a legislative update that includes a discussion of Senator Sessions’ recent letter to Acting NEH Chair Carole Watson;
  • follow-up to the Commission on the Humanities and Social Science’s The Heart of the Matter;
  • resources for advocates;
  • studies, reports, and initiatives pertaining to the humanities;
  • a compendium of humanities news articles and essays;
  • federal grant opportunities; and
  • upcoming humanities policy and advocacy events.

We hope that this monthly memo will provide you with tools to aid your advocacy efforts and help you and your organization stay abreast of policy and advocacy news. If you have information to to suggest for a future edition, please contact Erin Mosley at emosley@nhalliance.org.

Click here to download the briefing in pdf.



BREAKING: Govt Shuts Down the Arts

posted by Linda Downs


Americans for the Arts sent the following email on October 1, 2013.

BREAKING: Govt Shuts Down the Arts

October is National Arts and Humanities Month and how does the federal government celebrate? By closing the doors of federally funded museums, parks, zoos and delaying the distribution of NEA grants that enrich our communities.

Today is only a snapshot of what the 49% cut to the NEA could mean for our communities. As arts advocates, we cannot stand by and let this happen! In response, the Arts Action Fund is extending our petition to deliver even more names to Congress. This means we need YOU to take a stand and tell Congress that these drastic cuts are unacceptable.

Will you add your name to our petition?

You have until October 31st to sign this petition and tell your friends to sign as well. The Arts Action Fund has a goal of adding 10,000 new signers by the end of this month to keep the pressure mounting on Congress to not only oppose the 49% cut, but make sure it gets the funding it deserves for 2014.

Please consider adding your name now. We need you!

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director



In Less Than 24 Hours…

posted by Linda Downs


Americans for the Arts sent the following email on September 10, 2013.

In Less Than 24 Hours…

Over 17,000 advocates signed our online petition for Congress to oppose the 49% cut to the NEA!

Now that Congress has returned from recess to resume debates over these budget cuts, we need to increase our number of petition signers to have an even bigger impact before the proposed cuts hit the House and Senate floors.

Will you lend your voice to the 15,000 who have already signed?

Today also kicks-off National Arts in Education Week. Did you know that over 18 million kids in every single state benefitted from the ripple effect of the NEA’s investment last year alone? These grants create a lasting impact by inspiring kids across the country, regardless of socio-economic status, to think of music and art as relevant to their own lives.

Please sign the petition and ensure all kids have access to arts education!

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

P.S. Have you had a chance to view the #BeTheARTbeat Crowd-Sourced video? See why others are inspired to be a part of the Arts Action Fund.



Major NEA Cut Frozen until Fall

posted by Linda Downs


Americans for the Arts sent the following email on August 1, 2013.

Major NEA Cut Frozen until Fall

Yesterday the US House Appropriations Committee began consideration of legislation that would devastate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) with a 49 percent cut to its budget. An amendment to restore the funding to the NEA was defeated along a party-line vote of 19–27. With rising tempers over this cut and many others, the committee has now suspended its consideration until mid-September.

This legislation began its journey as a subcommittee proposal last week and the full committee is the middle step before it goes to the House floor for final consideration. Arts advocates are outraged and have sent more than 22,000 messages to Capitol Hill this past week calling for a rejection of these cuts.

If you have two minutes, please contact your member of Congress, or you can use our powerful media alert tool to send a Letter to the Editor to your local newspapers calling for Congress to reject this cut.

As stated in yesterday’s committee meeting by members of Congress from both parties, the cuts to our cultural resources are misguided and disproportionate. Not only will they impact the NEA, but the millions of Americans working in the creative industries that are boosted by the strategic grants made by the NEA.

  • Senior Democratic appropriator Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) described the bill as the “worst bill considered during this appropriations cycle”
  • Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) said, “We’d be better off passing a blank piece of paper”
  • Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) noted how many communities in her state have been revitalized because of NEA support and how critical it is

The Road Ahead

As members of Congress head back to their home districts shortly for a five-week recess period, the appropriations process will be put on hold until their return on September 9. Americans for the Arts will continue to build our advocacy efforts, looking ahead to later in the fall when the committee will try again to complete its work and move consideration of the bill to the House floor, where amendments to restore funding, and unfortunately reduce funding even further, could be offered.

The steps beyond that are unclear as the appropriations process this year appears to be heading toward a dysfunctional ending. As the Senate and the House have vastly different appropriations levels on a variety of bills, it is unlikely that they will find a compromise position. The most likely outcome would be a “continuing resolution” that would maintain the current NEA funding level into the next fiscal year.

If you have two minutes, please contact your member of Congress, or send a Letter to the Editor to your local newspapers calling for Congress to reject this cut. Americans for the Arts has further details and will be providing updates on our ARTSblog here.

Please help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member, you can play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today—it’s free and easy to join.




The National Humanities Alliance sent the following email on August 1, 2013.

Speak Up Now! 49 Percent Cut to the NEH Stalled in the House

By acting now, you can help to ensure that this devastating cut doesn’t move beyond the committee room.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee considered a 49 percent ($71 million) cut to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). After a lengthy debate, the committee adjourned for the August recess without acting on the proposal but with the intent to take it up again in September. We must use this recess to make our voices heard in order prevent these devastating cuts from being enacted. Please send messages to your elected officials today by clicking this link.

If you sent a message last week, please send this new message to both your Senators and Representatives. Click here to send a message today.

This battle will continue into the fall, as this bill moves toward a vote of the full House of Representatives and as the Senate considers its own spending bills. During this period it is important that your elected officials hear from you and your friends and colleagues. Click here to learn about six steps that you can take to oppose these cuts and preserve the NEH during this time. Please take these steps and circulate them widely.

This drastic cut would end programs that provide critical support for humanities teaching, preservation, public programming, and research and result in positive impacts on every community in the country. Programs supported by the NEH teach essential skills and habits including reading, writing, critical thinking, and effective communication that are crucial for ensuring that each individual has the opportunity to learn and become a productive member of society. Further, NEH’s programs strengthen communities by promoting understanding of our common ideals, enduring civic values, and shared cultural heritage.

Please share this message with your friends.

Click here to download “Six Steps to Oppose cuts to NEH.”

The NEH desperately needs your help.

Click here to send a message to your elected officials.



House Subcommittee Cuts the NEA by 49 Percent

posted by Linda Downs


Americans for the Arts sent the following email on July 23, 2013.

House Subcommittee Cuts the NEA by 49 Percent

Today, the US House of Representatives Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approved its initial FY 2014 funding legislation, which includes a proposed cut of $71 million to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This would bring funding of the NEA down to $75 million, a level not seen since 1974!

Please take two minutes to send a customizable message to your members of Congress rejecting these dramatic cuts to NEA funding.

While the subcommittee bill includes a 20 percent reduction in total spending as a part of the House budget plan, the proposed cuts of 49 percent to the NEA are significantly disproportionate. The arts community recognizes the challenges our elected leaders face in prioritizing federal resources, but funding for the NEA has already been cut by more than $29 million over the past three years. These disproportionate cuts recall the dramatic decline of federal funding for the arts in the early 90s, from which the agency has still not recovered.

In her statement during today’s markup, senior appropriator Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) said these cuts “harken back to a time when a misguided war on the arts and culture ignored the educational and cultural benefits they provide our communities.”

Final FY 2013 (includes 5 percent sequester cut)

National Endowment for the Arts: $138.4 million
National Endowment for the Humanities: $138.4 million

FY 2014 President’s Request

National Endowment for the Arts: $154.466 million
National Endowment for the Humanities: $154.466 million

FY 2014 House Subcommittee Proposal

National Endowment for the Arts: $75 million
National Endowment for the Humanities: $75 million

This is just the first step in an annual appropriations process, which this year appears to be heading toward a dysfunctional ending. It is expected that the full House Appropriations Committee will consider this legislation next week; however, as the Senate and the House have vastly different appropriations levels, it remains unclear whether this bill will reach the House floor or a final version will ever be completed with the Senate. A message from you now registering your concerns with your member of Congress would be well-timed to arrive prior to any possible next step in the appropriations process.

Please help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member, you can play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today—it’s free and easy to join.




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