skip to content

The Wenner-Gren Foundation

close window

2006 Annual Report

Program Highlights for 2006

International Programs 2006

Wadsworth Fellowship and the International Collaborative Research Grants

The year 2006 saw many changes made to the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Not only were the application procedures and eligibility criteria restructured, but, more importantly, after seventeen years of service at the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Dr. Pamela Smith retired from her position as International Programs administrator at the end of the year. Dr. Smith put much time and effort into promoting the international programs, and her constant devotion to and interest in the international grantees was a hallmark of her tenure. Grantees, many of whom came from developing countries to begin their graduate studies or anthropological training in unfamiliar environments, knew they could count on her for guidance and advice. While grantees and staff miss her presence, the Foundation is delighted to fill her position through a joint appointment shared by Michael Muse and Judith Kreid, both of whom have worked extensively at the Foundation as consultants in the screening and peer review of grant proposals. Their long-term experience with Foundation operations ensures that International Programs will continue to play a vital role in helping Wenner-Gren achieve its worldwide goals.

The changes to the International Programs executed in 2006 have foreshadowed a very active period in 2007. As a result of the new Website and online application procedures, knowledge of these programs is now reaching new constituencies and enhancing the variety of projects and applicants seeking support under these programs.

Wadsworth International Fellowships 

In honor of retiring Board of Trustee member Frank Wadsworth, the Foundation has changed the name of the Professional Development International Fellowships (PDIF) to the Wadsworth International Fellowships program. Frank Wadsworth was the longest serving member of the Wenner-Gren Foundation Board of Trustees and worked tirelessly for the Foundation, ensuring it remained active even in the face of the financial stress in the 1970s. It is thus fitting that this program, which strives to increase anthropological training throughout the world, be named for him.

There are three fellowships offered under the Wadsworth program: the Wadsworth International Fellowship; the Wadsworth Short-Term Fellowship; and the Wadsworth South African Fellowship.

The Wadsworth International Fellowship provides opportunities for students from lower-income countries where resources for anthropological training and practice are scarce. It prioritizes scholars who have not yet earned degrees from universities outside of their home countries. Given the growing number of applications to this program, the Foundation now requires a preliminary statement to determine the eligibility of the applicant. The Foundation has also implemented a March 1st deadline so that applicants can be evaluated as a group and selected on the basis of their academic excellence.

The Wadsworth Short-Term Fellowship is a new program that has evolved out of the former Library Fellowship. Awards of up to $5000 are available for students and established scholars from resource-scarce countries to access training or library resources abroad. The Wadsworth Short-Term Fellowship currently operates on an ongoing basis with no applicant submission deadlines. The goal is to provide more flexible support for individuals who could benefit from short stays at international caliber universities or libraries where they can obtain training or access to anthropological literature that is not available in their home countries.

The Wadsworth South African Fellowships are similar to the Wadsworth International Fellowships but are awarded to African anthropology students for doctoral studies at a South African University. Only one of these is awarded each year and the Foundation is very excited to have awarded the first of these Wadsworth South African Fellowships to Tessa Campbell (below). The submission deadline for the South African Fellowship is December 15 to better accommodate the start of the academic year in the southern hemisphere.

TESSA CAMPBELL - 2006 Wadsworth South African Fellow

 Tessa Campbell applied in 2006 to begin her training in Cape Town, South Africa in 2007. She completed a  B.Sc. degree in Biology, Earth and Environmental Sciences in 2005, specializing in both archaeology and in genetics and development. Her focus on genetics allowed her to gain practical experience using a variety of genetic techniques, although her personal interests remain focused on the intersection of anthropology and genetics. She is currently enrolled in a Masters/Ph.D. program at the University of Cape Town, where her research interests involve investigating ancient disease pathways and disease evolution through the use of modern and ancient DNA. Currently she is engaged in research that aims to extract and analyze ancient M. tuberculosis DNA from South African remains to answer questions about the evolution of M. tuberculosis and then address larger issues associated with human and disease migration in South Africa. This particular area of research, while being explored in other areas of the world, is underdeveloped in southern Africa, and little to no infrastructure exists to enable research using ancient DNA. Tessa plans to spend some time in the United States in order to learn the techniques and utilize the facilities available for ancient DNA work. She hopes to be able to contribute to the development of such facilities in South Africa at some time in the future.

International Collaborative Research Grants

The variety of projects funded by the International Collaborative Research Grants illustrate the range of research taking place in anthropology worldwide, and this work continues to be a source of pride at the Foundation. In 2006 the scope of the ICRG awards was expanded to include an optional training element for which supplemental funds are available to provide essential training for academic research participants (co-applicants, students, as well as other professional colleagues) in ICRG-funded projects. With this change, the Foundation aspires to assure that its resources can be channeled to support and enhance training and research in anthropology throughout the world. Proposals that include a training element can request up to a maximum of $35,000, of which no more than $10,000 can be budgeted for training purposes.

In 2006 the Foundation funded a variety of ICRG research projects with a total of eight new awards representing different subfields and international collaborations. For example Dr Elena Garcea from the University of Cassino in Italy is collaborating with Dr. Abdulaye Maga at IRSH/UAM in Niamey, Niger, to research Early and Middle Holocene adaptations across the Sahara-Sahel border. Meanwhile Dr. Olga Shevchenko from Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts) is working with Dr. Oksana Sarkisova at Moscow State University (Moscow, Russia) on a research project entitled “Snapshot Histories: Family Photography and Generational Memory of Russia's Socialist Century.”