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Statement on the Nomination of Jim Leach for NEH Chair

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Statement on the Nomination of James Leach as Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities
June 3, 2009
Washington, DC
 
The National Humanities Alliance greets the nomination of James Leach as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities with warm enthusiasm.  The Alliance is a coalition of more than 100 educational institutions and professional organizations united to advocate support for the humanities at the national level.
 
John Churchill, President of the National Humanities Alliance, said "We welcome President Obama’s nomination of a person of Mr. Leach’s stature to lead the NEH as a signal of determination to give the humanities a more central role in the Administration's research and education agenda.  Should Mr. Leach be confirmed by the Senate, we would look forward to the opportunity to work with him to strengthen our nation's capacities, not only to preserve our heritage in the humanities, but also to make advances in new humanistic learning."
 
The National Humanities Alliance celebrates Mr. Leach's service in the House of Representatives, and especially his work as co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Humanities Caucus.  While in Congress, Mr. Leach proved a strong and active proponent of funding for the humanities; he also displayed a deep understanding of the vital role played by learning, research, and teaching in the humanities in maintaining the vigor and health of American democracy.  In 2005, the National Humanities Alliance honored Mr. Leach with its Sidney R. Yates Award for Distinguished Public Service to the Humanities.
 
Mr. Leach would bring a distinguished academic humanities record to this position.  He holds an honors degree in political science from Princeton University, a masters in Soviet studies from Johns Hopkins University, and spent time as time as a research student at the London School of Economics.  He served recently as interim director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and is now the John L. Weinberg/Goldman Sachs and Co. Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.
 
The National Humanities Alliance particularly welcomes this nomination in the context of its own efforts to make the NEH a more effective resource for the advancement of the humanities.  The Alliance is on record, before Congress, in favor of restoration of the eroded funding of the NEH toward its demonstrated capacity, and supports the renewed investment in NEH’s core programs to advance global perspectives on the humanities, digital humanities projects, graduate education and basic research in the humanities, and the collection and dissemination of data concerning the state of the humanities nationally.
 
Contact:  Jessica Jones Irons, Executive Director, The National Humanities Alliance 202 296 4994, jirons@nhalliance.org; John Churchill, President, The National Humanities Alliance, (Secretary, The Phi Beta Kappa Society) 202 745 3246, jchurchill@pbk.org.

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