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Letter from the ASOR President Regarding Proposed Federal Budget

Dear ASOR Colleagues,

As is well known, US President Donald Trump released his proposed federal budget on Thursday, March 16. As is also well known, this budget recommends the elimination of several federal agencies whose support has benefitted ASOR as an organization, as well as benefitting many, many ASOR members.

These agencies include the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which has been committed to fostering ASOR's work of scholarly and personal engagement in the Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds as part of the NEH's larger mission of supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities and in those social sciences that use humanistic methods. They also include the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, both of which have sustained ASOR members in their work by supporting museum exhibitions, care of collections, conservation, community engagement, and education activities.

The proposed budget also recommends significant cuts in funding for the Department of Education’s International Education Programs, which include the Fulbright-Hays and Title VI programs that help support language and area studies and American Overseas Research Centers. Among these centers are ASOR's affiliated Overseas Research Centers, the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research (AIAR) in Jerusalem, the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman, Jordan, and the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) in Nicosia, Cyprus.

The 28% budget cut proposed for the Department of State in addition would result in reduced funding for educational and cultural exchange programs overseen by the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and in reduced funding for U.S. economic and development aid. In many cases, this economic and development aid supports projects in countries where ASOR members work and even, in the case of the USAID "Sustainable Cultural Heritage through Engagement of Local Communities Project" (SCHEP), a project that ACOR, ASOR's affiliated Overseas Research in Amman, administers.      

Clearly, for ASOR and for our members, much is at stake. Yet as our friends at the National Humanities Alliance remind us, "The administration’s budget blueprint is fundamentally advisory. The House and Senate will now begin their own budget and appropriations processes, starting with their own budget resolutions." What is required of us, therefore, is to let members of Congress know that the Trump budget proposals cited above do not have our support.

ASOR thus joins with many of our sister organizations in urging our United States members to contact their representatives in Congress as soon as possible to register strong objections to the massive cuts to funding for the NEH; for museums; for foreign language education; for educational and cultural exchange programs; for economic and development aid; and for social science research.

To contact members of Congress, you can use one of these two options.

1. Make a phone call. All members of Congress can be reached through the US Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

2. Write a message. The National Humanities Alliance has made this easy: ASOR's US members should click here to send emails to their congressional delegations.  

Many thanks in advance for your support in this important advocacy effort and, as always, all my thanks for everything else you all do to support ASOR.

Susan Ackerman
ASOR President

The American Schools of Oriental Research | Contact | Overseas Centers | Facebook March 19, 2017