Dr. David Norman received our 2022 Denmark Project Award to conduct research on post-colonial Inuit arts and their critical relevance to global art movements. Dr. Norman’s work historicizes the continuity between Greenlandic artists who used art as a way of political activism before 1979 and the contemporary artists who challenged stereotypical views of Greenlandic arts in the 1980s and 1990s. On his return to the United States, David will work on his current book-in-progress, Home Rule Contemporary: Experimental Art and Self-Determination in Kalaallit Nunaat, which seeks to position Greenlandic art in the center of contemporary art history.
Kathleen Maris Paltriner
The 2022 award went to Kathleen Maris Paltriner. Kathleen is translating an anthology of ecopoetry to be published in the US where there is a lack of Norwegian poetry in translation. She will translate a total of nine poets writing in Bokmål, Nynorsk, and Sámi languages, carrying out her own translations from Bokmål and Nynorsk—the two written standards of Norwegian—and collaboratively translating with experts in the indigenous Sámi language group. On her return to the United States, Kathleen will publish the anthology to provide US audiences access to critical voices in the field of ecopoetry.
Elizabeth Schmidt, a graduate of Western Sydney University, received our 2022 Project Support award to conduct a policy and media analysis of Australian policy on the rights and safety of LGBTQ refugees in detention. Her research aims to address the experiences and needs of these refugees during displacement. Upon her return to the U.S., Elizabeth plans to work with non-profit organizations that advocate for the rights of vulnerable displaced population. She also plans to pursue a law degree focusing on human rights and migration to promote comprehensive US refugee resettlement policy, reforms to US asylum procedures, and humane conditions for asylum seekers who are detained in the US.
Radhika will use the Roth-Thomson Award for conducting research on maternal health among immigrant populations in Sweden. Her goal is to apply the research that she does in Sweden and intervention strategies that have been effective there to help women in the United States. Upon her return to the United States, she plans to enroll in a Master of Public Health and Juris Doctor joint degree program. After graduate school, she hopes to research and advocate for federal policies that will help immigrant women access quality, culturally competent perinatal care.
Kathlyn Elliott is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at Drexel University. She plans to use the Roth-Thomson Award to support her research on the pedagogical tools used in the Finnish education system to prevent violent extremism and dismantle already existing violent extremism. Upon her return to the U.S., Kathlyn plans to finish her education, in hopes of working for the United States government or non-profit organizations on preventing violent extremism.
Dr. Devi Sridhar
Dr. Devi Sridhar spoke on the topic, “Preventing the Next Pandemic: What have we learned about international health collaboration and what needs to change?” In this lecture, Dr. Sridhar examined the historical roots of international collaboration in health and the subsequent creation of the World Health Organization in the aftermath of World War II. Yet, during the COVID crisis, Dr. Sridar described how world health cooperation broke down illustrated by divergent and nationally-driven strategies on COVID-response, vaccine nationalism and hoarding by rich countries, and tense political frictions over the origins of COVID-19. Dr. Sridhar offered insightful thoughts on how the world can learn from the past and better manage the next pandemic.
A video of the lecture is available on the US-UK Fulbright Commission’s website.
Clint Bruce holds the Canada Research Chair in Acadian and Transnational Studies (CRÉAcT), is Director of the Observatoire Nord/Sud and assistant professor in the Department of Humanities at Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia. He is also a research associate at the Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and at the L.R. Wilson Institute of Canadian History at McMaster University. A native of Shreveport, Professor Bruce holds a doctorate from Brown University, a master’s degree from CUNY—Lehman College, and two bachelor’s degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana. Readings of poems from the book and background on overlooked events from Reconstruction era Louisiana, including the New Orleans massacre of 1866 are available in his interview on SoundCloud: Poetry Spoken Here.
An Honorable Mention was also awarded to Cultural Affairs Officer Raisa Dukas from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. Raisa’s incredible support to her peers, subordinates, and interlocutors, her mentoring and creation of a new, but now permanent, regional Community of Practice for PD practitioners, and her creative programming and broad strategic outreach plan that attracted new partners and beneficiaries for USG programs will have a lasting influence on regional cultural diplomacy efforts and richly exemplify the legacy of Lois Roth.
The 2021 Ilchman-Richardson Award went to Ms. Antoinette (Toni) Bowser, Director of Information Technology (IT) at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).Toni’s vision and tenacity have made ECA’s mission possible, especially during the pandemic shift to telework and virtual-programming, supporting posts, partners and participants. Her principled leadership resulted in Vision21, a multi-year project that enhanced the Bureau’s strategic and budget planning, outcomes assessment, and capability for reporting to Congress, the Executive branch leadership, regional bureau colleagues, and other stakeholders. Toni’s success exemplifies the legacy behind the Ilchman-Richardson award.
An Honorable Mention was also awarded to the Branch Chief of Europe/Eurasia Branch (IVLP Division) at the Office of International Visitors, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Charlotte Titus. Over 30 years Charlotte improved program efficiency and the work environment for her colleagues. She led a steering committee of international security professionals and their U.S. counterparts, a working group that updates a SharePoint site with real-time guidance for exchanges stakeholders and advocated for telework to strengthen operations and work-life balance, among many other initiatives. Through her compassionate leadership Charlotte heads a team that is grateful for her leadership.
Elina excels in shaping 12+ exchange programs from inception to program and into ongoing relationships to the benefit of Kazakhstan and the U.S. When COVID canceled the in-person event for the International Visitor Leadership Program’s 80th anniversary, Elina conceptualized, implemented, and moderated a Facebook Live program with Washington and Embassy officials and over 120 guests that has garnered close to 3,000 views, significantly increasing the embassy’s influence and reach.
For a dozen years, Elena Broszkowski, Cultural Affairs Specialist at U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, managed the Performing and Visual Arts Portfolio, comprising ECA cultural arts programs and nominations, and post-funded social transformation-through-the-arts programs incorporating exchanges alumni, Binational Centers, public and private universities, municipalities led by opposition party members, and many other Post allies. Using theater, music and practical training, Elena leaves a lasting legacy of young leaders able to bring the changes that Venezuelan society needs.
Dr. Gözde Doğan Yalçıner
Gözde’s Honorable Mention is for the bilateral Cultural Property Agreement (CPA) signed this year. Gözde created partnerships linking the Turkish government, NGOs, and arts institutions, resulting in a CPA that curbs smuggling, denies revenue to terrorist organizations, and protects cultural heritage. Gödze’s work is on the leading edge of a renewed emphasis on protecting cultural property and combating the smuggling of cultural artifacts.
Throughout her 22-year career, Fatma Souidi brought Algerians and Americans together – in spite of a civil war, a revolution, economic crisis, and a pandemic. Fatma engineered the region’s first Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Property which led to updated cultural preservation legislation and training focused on preventing looting of cultural property. Her work in this and other fields is the bedrock of our relationship with an otherwise standoffish government, exemplifying the best of cultural diplomacy.
For nearly two decades, Vanessa has led the entire range of cultural programming. Most notably, she secured $2.5 million to conserve dozens of heritage sites and led U.S. repatriation of some 2,000 artifacts to Peru, raising the profile of the Mission throughout Peru. Vanessa’s humanity, care for contacts and workmates, advocacy for U.S. interests and help for Peruvians well represent the legacy of Gill Jacot-Guillarmod.
The 2021 Lois Roth Award went to Public Affairs Officer William Couch from the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki, Finland. Bill skillfully used a range of cultural diplomacy tools, over two years, to reverse Finnish opposition to repatriating the remains of 20 Indigenous People and their funerary objects for reburial in Mesa Verde National Park. Bill coordinated U.S. and Finnish officials, the National Museum of Finland, American Airlines, tribal governments, and the National Park Service, an effort resulting in global guidance from Washington tasking all Missions to seek out and assist in repatriation of remains and artifacts.
Cheyenne Jansdatter, the Archival Collections Manager of the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa, will work to develop the Danish American Archival Networking Experience (DAANE), an online digital archive that will connect three Danish American archives in the U.S and several institutions in Denmark with archival holdings that are relevant to the Danish American experience. Cheyenne hopes the project will result in increased collaboration and shared content, such as online exhibits.
Lexi is pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in International Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Lappeenranta. She plans to use the Roth-Thomson Award to support her sociological research on the ways in which globalization of the pharmaceutical business could optimize the innovation of drugs and reduce cost for the consumer. Upon her return to the U.S., Lexi plans to pursue a career in international pharmaceutical pricing, in hopes of making life-saving drugs more accessible to consumers worldwide.
This year, the award went to Michelle Chang. Michelle is conducting research on Norwegian mindsets about death in collaboration with the University of Bergen’s Center for Crisis Psychology to support the Center’s work with the organizations it serves. She will use the Project Support Award to conduct and then analyze information obtained from community focus groups of Norwegian adults who have experienced a recent death of a loved one. On her return to the United States, Michelle plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology that focuses on inequities in bereavement experiences. She hopes to bring the insights gained from her international experiences to provide more comprehensive language and frameworks for understanding bereavement.
Hannah Ritchey is conducting research on Muslim immigration and integration in Sweden. She will use the Roth-Thomson Award for translation and interpretation services and travel to conduct interviews. She plans to pursue a career advising non-governmental organizations on how to care for migrants and assist their acclimation to their new community, while celebrating their history and culture.
Robert Chandler & Elizabeth Chandler
The 2020 award went to Robert and Elizabeth Chandler for their translation from the Russian of Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad. Set in Russia in the midst of WWII, the novel follows the Shaposhnikov family as they grapple with the nearing German invasion, providing an intimate portrait of humanity in the face of disaster. According to the Modern Language Association, “Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler’s historical understanding and archival research made it possible to produce a book that salvages the novel from the fate of its mangled original, censored in the process of writing, editing, and production.” The Chandlers’ translation makes Grossman’s masterpiece available to English language readers for the first time.
Virlana Tkacz & Wanda Phipps
Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps received an honorable mention for their translation from the Ukranian of Serhiy Zhadan’s What We Live For, What We Die For: Selected Poems by Serhiy Zhadan. The collection includes selected works detailing the haunting realities of life in war-torn Ukraine from seven of Zhadan’s previous publications, released between 2001 and 2015. According to Dzvinia Orlowsky of the Solstice Literary Magazine, “These eloquent translations read as if the poems were conceived in English. Every poem transports readers to an authentic, emotional destination.” Tkacz and Phipps have been collaborating since 1989, and are codirectors of the Yara Arts Group in New York.
An honorable mention was awarded to Jonathan Wright for his translation from the Arabic of Sinan Antoon’s fourth novel, The Book of Collateral Damage. The novel follows Nameer, an Iraqi scholar studying in the United States, as he attempts to document and come to terms with the devastating aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Based on Antoon’s own experiences in witnessing the destruction when returning to his hometown of Bhagdad after the invasion, the novel offers important commentary on both the human and environmental costs of war. Wright is a celebrated British journalist and literary translator, specializing in Arabic translation.
*The Prix Coindreau Prize, The Jeanne Varnay Pleasants Prize for Language Teaching, and the CASVA-Henry & Judith Millon Award are currently inactive.