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2007 Annual Report

President's Report

President's Report

Leslie C. Aiello, Ph.D.

In 2007 we continued to implement the new programs and changes to existing programs that were initiated in 2006. Among the achievements of 2007 is the migration of the majority of our funding programs to our online application system, the appointment of Dr. Mark Aldenderfer as the new editor of Current Anthropology, and further refinements to the operation of the Foundation.  

The Foundation received the largest number of applications ever for its individual research grants (Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, Post-Ph.D. Research Grant, Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship) and saw a healthy increase in the number of applications across its other programs. This posed a challenge to our grant-making procedures and required a significant expansion of our review panel and a re-organization of our internal grant-making systems.

We also launched the new Institutional Development Grant, which provides $125,000 over five years to anthropology departments in countries where the discipline is underrepresented and where there are limited resources to support academic development. The first application deadline for this new program is April 2008. This program will be more fully presented in the 2008 Annual Report.

The Foundation’s International Symposium meetings resumed after a hiatus in 2006 due to the transition of Foundation Presidents. We also held two workshops in New York, one jointly sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History and the other jointly sponsored with The Center for the Study of Human Origins at NYU.

The Foundation was represented at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and Palaeoanthropology Society annual meetings in April in Philadelphia, at the Third Mexican Primatological Congress in October at the Institute of Anthropological Research of the National University of Mexico, and at the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in November in Washington DC. At the AAA meetings we sponsored a Presidential symposium on the Indigenous Experience Today (organized by Marisol de la Cadena, UC Davis, and Orin Starn, Duke University, and developed from the 135th International WG Symposium held March 18-25, 2005 at Hotel Villa Luppis, Rivarotta di Pasiano, Italy). We also held a book launch for three volumes in the Wenner-Gren International Symposia series, an evening reception to mark the transition of Current Anthropology editors, and a grant writing seminar.

All of these activities and initiatives will be further discussed in the following section on Program Highlights.

The year 2007 was full and busy. I would like to thank the Wenner-Gren Foundation staff, the academic Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees for their enthusiasm and skill in ensuring that the Foundation continues to serve and support the anthropological community. I would particularly like to thank Richard Hackney who is retiring after six years as Chairman of the Wenner-Gren Board of Trustees and twelve years as a member of the Board. Richard provided me with support and encouragement during my first two and a half years as Foundation President and for this I will always be grateful. The Foundation has also grown considerably under his skillful direction and is in a stronger position today than it has been in its entire 67 year history. It is because of all of the success under his able leadership that we currently can disburse over $5 million dollars a year in support of anthropology worldwide. 

Leslie Aiello
President, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research