David Schwartz, philosophy professor and the Mary Frances Williams Chair in Humanities, recently attended the National Humanities Alliance’s (NHA) Annual Meeting and participated in its Humanities Advocacy Day Program in Washington, D.C.
For Advocacy Day, Schwartz and other professors from across the nation met with legislators to promote the importance of humanitarian studies in a college education and to lobby for funding for specific programs. Key discussion points included the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Hays International Education Programs.
For Fiscal Year 2016, the federal government allocated $147.9 million to the National Endowment for the Humanities. Schwartz and other NHA members urged Congress to provide at least $155 million in FY 2017.
“Studying the humanities is all about understanding your place in the world and the bigger picture,” Schwartz said. “I asked legislators to fund the humanities because people with those degrees make great citizens and employees.”
Schwartz also encouraged members of the Senate to pass H.R. 1493, which imposes import restrictions on cultural materials illegally removed from Syria after the civil war began in March 2011. Additionally, the legislation would establish an inter-agency committee that would coordinate all federal agency activities concerning the protection of cultural property abroad.
At the NHA’s Annual Meeting, Schwartz, who is a member of the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on Public Philosophy, inquired about the role of small liberal arts colleges like Randolph in promoting the humanities. The 2016 Advocacy Day was the first in which Schwartz has participated, but after an enjoyable experience he hopes to return in the future.
“I met a lot of people, and it was interesting to get a closer look at how the lobbying and political processes work,” Schwartz said.
For more information about NHA and Advocacy Day, visit http://www.nhalliance.org/.