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Folklorist Stephen Kidd Selected as National Humanities Alliance Executive Director

Tuesday, July 10, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tim Lloyd
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Folklorist Stephen Kidd has been named Executive Director of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), a coalition of more than 100 humanities organizations and institutions from around the country, including the AFS, committed to advocacy for the humanities. Kidd comes to the Alliance most recently from the Smithsonian Institution, where he served as Director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and Associate Director of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

Michael Brintnall, President of the NHA, said that the Alliance is delighted to bring on Stephen as the new director. He said, "Stephen Kidd stands out as a scholar with a practiced understanding of the connections between humanities scholarship and public life. He comes to us with experience and with respect from all of the constituencies important to our mission, and with a driving commitment to the values we share about how advancing the humanities can advance the common good.”

Throughout his career, Kidd has focused on bringing humanities scholarship to both broad public audiences and policymakers. As Director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, he managed one of the largest public humanities events in the United States. Known as the Smithsonian’s museum without walls, the Festival presents three major, research-based thematic exhibitions on the National Mall during a two-week period each summer. The Festival draws more than one million visitors per year with an annual budget of $5 million. As Director, Kidd forged partnerships with ministries of culture, institutions of higher education, museums, and community-based organizations; represented the Festival’s interests on Capitol Hill; raised millions of dollars in funds from diverse sources; oversaw research committees; and represented the scholarship of the exhibitions to a wide range of audiences.

Kidd said, "I am looking forward to working with our members involved in research, education, preservation, and public programs to make the case for increased support during these challenging times.”

Kidd graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in American history and a minor in English. He received MPhil and PhD degrees in American studies from George Washington University. He also studied Irish history and literature at University College, Galway, Ireland. Stephen and his wife Nancy live in Maryland with their two children. His appointment as Executive Director of the National Humanities Alliance is effective September 4, 2012.

Based in Washington, DC, the National Humanities Alliance ( is the only national organization that advocates for the humanities community as a whole. Founded in 1981, the Alliance represents the interests of its members to Congress and federal agencies on matters relating to humanities research, education, preservation, and public programs. More than one hundred organizations and institutions support the Alliance. These members include scholarly and professional associations; higher education associations; organizations of museums, libraries, historical societies and state humanities councils; university-based and independent humanities research centers; and a growing number of colleges and universities.

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