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2005 Annual Report

President's Report

Leslie Aiello

Leslie C. Aiello

I arrived at the Foundation in May 2005 with plans to build on the strengths and prior successes of the Foundation. My first major initiative was to review the Foundation's website with the aims of increasing our profile in the field, clarifying our funding programs, improving our application guidelines and providing more information on the history of the Foundation and the impact it has had on the development of international anthropology. Together with the redesign of the website we are introducing online application and review systems. Online reviewing will permit us to give feedback to both the successful and unsuccessful applicants in a timely fashion and online applications should facilitate the application process for grant-seekers irrespective of where they might be located internationally. Both systems will also help to streamline internal procedures at the Foundation and free-up staff time to provide better service to the community. Both the website and the online application and review system will be fully launched in 2006.

Together with the web-based initiatives we also undertook a major review of all of the Foundation's programs to improve and clarify our grant-making and other activities, insure the continued success of Current Anthropology, and reinvigorate the Wenner-Gren/University of Pennsylvania casting program. Particular attention has been given to assessing the ways in which our funding programs meet the needs of the international community of anthropologists through the Professional Development International Fellowship (PDIF), the International Collaborative Research Grant (ICRG) and the Post-Ph.D. Research Grant programs. There has also been concern over the effect of electronic journal access on the viability of Current Anthropology and discussions are underway with University of Chicago Press to insure its future as are discussions with the University of Pennsylvania to bring the Wenner-Gren hominid casting program back into full production.

In the midst of this review, I have also endeavored to solicit the input of the widest number of anthropologists to help inform the future direction of the Foundation's programs and activities. The Wenner-Gren Foundation is a unique resource for international anthropology and I encourage anthropologists everywhere to interact with the Foundation, offer your ideas and help determine the Foundation's direction for the future. I look forward to working with our Board of Trustees and our Academic Advisory Council to insure that the Foundation helps the field continue to grow, develop and meet the challenges of the modern world; but I can only do this successfully with the help and involvement of the entire field.

Leslie C. Aiello
Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research