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Executive Director’s Report

by Kristine Navarro-McElhaney
Interim Executive Director

These are interesting and challenging times for the Oral History Association and our fellow organizations that are deeply committed to and advocate for the humanities, arts and culture.  The blueprint budget released last month by the new administration proposes to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  While this plan is far from what will ultimately emerge from the budget writing process in Congress, it is more important than ever that OHA members and partners become deeply engaged in the process and have their voices heard.

We have joined more than 100 historical organizations around the country to endorse the History Relevance Value Statement, declaring the importance of teaching and learning history.  The value statement is comprised of seven distinct tenets delineating critical ways the study of history is essential to individuals, communities and our shared future. History Relevance comprises more than 150 like-minded organizations around the world, from the Smithsonian Institution and National Archives to historical societies and archivists; associations and nonprofits; and museums, trusts, estates and local institutions. The value statement is endorsed by organizations like ours that promote and encourage a sense of awareness, identity and interconnectivity in a multicultural world through history-driven courses of study.

Also, we are happy to announce that this year, thanks to your generous donations, OHA will begin awarding for the first time the annual Clifford M. Kuhn Scholarship to an outstanding student – at the high school, undergraduate or graduate level – for participation at the OHA annual conference.  Cliff Kuhn was OHA’s first executive director and a friend, colleague and exceptional human being.  He was very passionate about teaching, learning and supporting students in every way.  The scholarship recipient will be selected from our scholarship applicant pool and will receive complimentary conference registration, a $500 travel stipend and recognition in OHA program materials.