Year: 2020

David Levin

An Honorable Mention was also awarded to ECA’s Senior Program Manager for Diversity and Inclusion, David Levin.  During his 36 years with ECA, he has built Diversity and Inclusion into ECA’s ethos instilling his fervent belief that international exchange and its life-changing benefits should be available to everyone and that exchanges are stronger and more impactful when …

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Mary Kirk

The 2020 Ilchman-Richardson Award went to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Director of Academic Exchange Programs, Mary Kirk. Mary and her team have extended the breadth of the Fulbright Program’s outreach and selection processes and reinforced their connection to foreign policy priorities, while ensuring the health, safety and productivity of the exchange experience for all Fulbrighters. Under her …

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Holly Zardus

An Honorable Mention was also awarded to Cultural Affairs Officer Holly Zardus from the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo for her creation of BOLD (Bosanski Omladinski Lideri), a multi-faceted program to address the problems facing Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) by developing a new cadre of leaders. Holly marshaled a full range of public diplomacy programming, leveraged support from her …

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Davida MacDonald

The 2020 Lois Roth Award went to Cultural Affairs Officer Davida MacDonald from the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, Morocco. Davida was recognized for the “Moonshot Morocco” campaign she designed that transformed the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing into a year-long celebration and captured the imagination of thousands of Moroccans. The campaign provided STEM programming to …

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Helena Vagnerova

Helena Vagnerova, Senior Member, Established Opinion Leader Team, U.S. Embassy Prague is a living legend within Embassy Prague and has mentored generations of Foreign Service Officers and local staff. She has mastered every aspect of public diplomacy, from brainstorming to carrying out policy-relevant, impactful programming. She can single-handedly draft Front Office memos and remarks for …

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James Budinich

The 2020 award went to James Budinich. James will be working with the Royal Danish Academy of Music to conduct research on the Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen and the Danish New Simplicity movement during the 1960s. He is also developing a composition for vocalist and chamber ensemble based on the work “Third-Millennium Heart” by Danish …

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Donald Rayfield

Donald Rayfield was awarded an honorable mention for his translation from the Russian of Varlam Shalamov’s Kolyma Stories, Vol. 1. Kolyma Stories is a collection of short fictional stories based upon the fifteen years that Shalamov spent in a Soviet prison camp. According to Penguin Random House, “[Shalamov’s] stories are at once the biography of …

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Asselin Charles

Asselin Charles, a professor of Communication and Literary Studies at Sheridan College, was awarded an honorable mention for his translation from the French of Frankétienne’s Dézafi. Written in an experimental style, Dézafi follows the story of a Hatian plantation that is worked by zombies under the rule of a living master. When the master’s daughter …

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Damion Searls

The 2019 award went to Damion Searls for his translation from the German of Anniversaries: From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl by Uwe Johnson. Set in 1967, the book follows the lives of Gesine Cresspahl, a German émigré to Manhattan and single mother to ten-year-old Marie, dedicating a chapter for each day …

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Ben Orozco

Ben Orozco (University of Wisconsin, Madison), an artist specializing in neon and glasswork,is studying under Tommy Gustafsschiöld, Sweden’s only neon craftsman at The Glass Factory in Boda Glasbruk. Ben will use the Roth-Thomson Award to acquire the supplies, materials and tools needed for a solo exhibition that will highlight American neon and Swedish glass techniques …

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MaryClaire Pappas

MaryClaire (Indiana University, Bloomington) is writing a dissertation on the Swedish avant garde movement. She will use the Roth-Thomson Award to extend her research to include the contributions of female artists that have been largely overlooked. Upon returning to the U.S., MaryClaire plans to expand her dissertation into a book to highlight the contributions of …

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Keegan Glennon

Keegan is working towards a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, focused in development, sustainability, and cultural change at the University of Oslo. She plans to use her Project Support award to fund a research project surrounding a recent decision by the Norwegian government to allow mining waste dumping into a protected national salmon fjord. Upon her …

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Anna Bodgan

Anna Bodgan is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Global Politics and Communication at the University of Helsinki. She plans to use the Roth-Thomson Award to support her research project on the spread of misinformation in the discussion of politics online. Upon her return to the U.S., Anna plans to apply her studies to a position …

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Kayleigh Anderson

Kayleigh Anderson is researching the experiences of indigenous Sami women through a feminist lens as part of her graduate program in gender studies at the University of Turku. With the Roth-Thomson Award, she will extend her stay in Finland and expand her research to include questions of cultural appropriation and the Sami people. Upon her …

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Janet Napolitano

Fulbright Legacy speaker Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California, was joined by UK university leaders to discuss the timely topic of “Higher Education and the Public Good.” The wide-ranging discussion reflected on the results of a dedicated IPSOS Mori global survey on public attitudes towards higher education and covered topics from inequality and …

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Esti Durahsanti

Since her arrival in 2003, Esti’s interpersonal skills and leadership has provided the foundation for the Consulate’s public diplomacy programming and serves as an example of excellence for all Consulate employees. Her extensive knowledge and experience with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM), women empowerment, disability rights, LGBTQ issues and trafficking in persons have …

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Felicity Aziz

Over a 40-year career, Felicity Aziz, Deputy Director of the American Center, Jerusalem,has managed Center operations and staff, while serving as the liaison to some 35 grantee organizations. The Mission relies on her advice regarding women’s empowerment and economic development, religious affairs, innovation and entrepreneurship, climate and environmental issues, rule of law, good governance and …

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Ali Al Ghadban

Ali Al Ghadban, Cultural Assistant, U.S. Consulate General Jeddah, has supported the entire U.S. Mission to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with his stellar work in exchange and alumni programs over thirty-five years of service. His connections across Saudi Arabia run deep and he continually leverages his vast network of contacts to strengthen U.S.-Saudi ties …

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Ivanka Ponikvar

For most of the nearly three decades that Slovenia has been an independent nation, Ivanka Ponikvar, Education and Professional Exchanges Specialist, U.S. Embassy Slovenia, has been the Embassy’s most respected exchanges interlocutor. Known for her compassion, around-the-clock attentiveness to detail and commitment to participant satisfaction, she deftly navigated a changing political and economic landscape to …

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