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There Is Work To Do

Today’s blog post is written by AAA Executive Director, Dr. Edward Liebow (eliebow@aaanet.org).

The US government’s partial shut-down has ended, and anthropologists here in the States have some work to do. The federal government activities that were put on hold over the past 16 days furloughed employees, delayed federal benefits, shuttered museums and national parks, interrupted research, put cultural resources at risk, and created economic hardships in many communities. During this partial-shutdown, the AAA office issued blog posts with updates about the shutdown, invited members to tell their stories about how they were affected; we made visits to Capitol Hill where we talked about short- and long-term effects on issues of central interest to anthropologists, and we made contingency plans to refund affected federal workers after the official annual meeting refund date.

The agreement reached last night funds the government through January 15, suspends the debt limit until February 7, and calls for formal negotiations to determine a long-term budget plan by December 13. In other words, unless Congress and the President can work out a lasting plan, the US could find itself back in this same position again in just a few months.

I may be new to Washington, but not to policy-making. I hope that from my new front-row seat, I am able to watch the country’s elected leaders put the public interest first and find an enduring budget solution that embodies a long-term commitment to promoting environmental sustainability, education and research, health and social justice, while protecting cultural resources and human rights. This is the commitment the public deserves.

Some have speculated that last night’s legislative outcomes will further compel the current administration’s political opponents to renew their full frontal attacks on affordable health care for all, and on such pressing long-term structural issues as immigration reform, global environmental change, and the unevenly distributed problems in crumbling public infrastructure.

For anthropologists in the US, the immediate task ahead is to make sure that this new round of budget negotiations does not become the forum for airing petty grievances about public support for social science education and research. This affects classroom enrollments. It affects museum attendance. Also affected is the growth of knowledge by which we advance human understanding, and apply this understanding to tackling the world’s most pressing problems. We simply cannot let that happen. I’d like to encourage our US members to make their feelings known to their elected representatives about the importance of anthropologists’ work.

The Future of AAA

WAPAListen to the March 5, 2013 monthly Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists (WAPA) meeting, as new AAA Executive Director Ed Liebow sought feedback about his plans for the Association, emphasizing his commitment to keeping AAA on solid financial footing while:

  • Supporting global scholarly exchange through innovative forms of publication and meetings
  • Increasing AAA membership’s size and diversity
  • Making AAA a welcoming organizational home for practicing and applied anthropologists based beyond the academy
  • Increasing anthropology’s visibility, especially in the Washington DC area in serving AAA’s long-term strategic objectives

Founded in 1976, WAPA serves as a resource, and a social and career development center for anthropologists seeking to apply their knowledge and skills to practical problems for the betterment of society.

A special thanks to Pamela for recording the presentation and sharing the file with AAA.

AAA Reception Welcomes New Executive Director Dr. Liebow

Last evening, federal agency representatives, congressional staff and association affiliates welcomed AAA Executive Director Dr. Edward Liebow to his new position and to the Washington D.C. area.

Liebow Welcome Reception - 3.27.13 015

Ed speaks with Fath Ruffins of the Smithsonian Institution.

This gathering provided an opportunity for the AAA to continue to build a strong network amongst key players in the area.

Ed enjoys a laugh with Stephen Hill of the National Humanities Alliance and Alyson Reed of the Linguistic Society of America

Ed enjoys a laugh with Stephen Hill of the National Humanities Alliance and Alyson Reed of the Linguistic Society of America

The event was hosted at the Sonoma Wine Bar on Capitol Hill.

AAA President Leith Mullings welcomes Ed to DC.

AAA President Leith Mullings welcomes Ed to DC.

New Executive Director Leads American Anthropological Association

Ed - smallDr. Edward Liebow, who was selected as the new Executive Director of the AAA during the organization’s 111th Annual Meeting in November of last year, started his new position with the group this past week. Dr. Liebow, formerly a practicing anthropologist with Battelle, was selected for his knowledge of the challenges as well as opportunities facing the discipline as well as those facing scholarly associations at large.

“Dr. Liebow has been a long time active member of the Association,” notes AAA President, Leith Mullings; “he knows what members need from their professional association and I am confident that he will be a great asset to his colleagues, the Association and the field of anthropology.”

Liebow earned his PhD in cultural anthropology from Arizona State University and his BA in sociology and anthropology from Carleton College. He joined Battelle Memorial Institute in 1986, and rose from the rank of research scientist to project leader to director of research operations. Dr. Liebow has also taught anthropology at the University of Washington and the Università Carlo Cattaneo (Castellanza, VA, Italy). The professional and academic experiences Liebow brings to the table encompass the various professional needs of the Association’s membership. He has also served as the AAA Treasurer for the past six years.

“I am excited about the new opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for the Association,” said Dr. Liebow, “I particularly look forward to strengthening our relationships with national and international organizations, expanding our engagement with the public, and increasing the visibility of the enormously valuable work that we do for the good of society.”

AAA Names New Executive Director

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) is pleased to announce that its Executive Board has selected a new Executive Director, Dr. Edward Liebow. Dr. Liebow was selected after a search process that included broad outreach to national and international contacts and organizations.

 Dr. Liebow is an accomplished administrator and researcher. In addition, he has been very active in AAA, serving as AAA Treasurer, as well as an Executive Board member. He comes to the Executive Director’s position after a long career with the Battelle Memorial Institute, the world’s largest not-for-profit research and development organization. He joined Battelle in 1986, the year he received his PhD in cultural anthropology from Arizona State University. Dr. Liebow also has a BA in sociology/anthropology from Carleton College. He has conducted research and public policy analysis on a variety of energy, public health, and social policy issues concerning disadvantaged communities. While at Battelle, he rose from the rank of research scientist to project leader to director of research operations in the Seattle office. Dr. Liebow maintains a position as affiliate associate professor of anthropology and interdisciplinary studies at the University of Washington. He has also been a visiting professor of Applied Anthropology and Comparative Economics at Università Carlo Cattaneo (Castellanza, VA, Italy), a Senior Fellow of the Fulbright Commission, and has served on the faculty of the CDC-sponsored Summer Evaluation Institute.

“Dr. Liebow’s administrative ability, knowledge of the challenges as well as opportunities facing scholarly associations and his vision for anthropology and the robust future of the Association made him the best choice,” according to AAA President, Leith Mullings. “I am confident that Dr. Liebow will be a great asset to the Association as we seek to strengthen our relationships with national and international organizations, expand our engagement with the public and increase the visibility of anthropologists and anthropological knowledge”

“I am very excited about this new position,” Liebow said in a recent interview. “It is my aim to make the Association a welcoming home for folks from a variety of backgrounds and organizational affiliations.”

Dr. Liebow will join the AAA in January, 2013.


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