Winter 2017 Advocacy Update

The start of 2017 marks an important period of time for the ASA and its members in terms of advocacy for federal funding priorities in the next proposed budget. In December 2016, the United States Congress passed a continuing resolution that would fund government operations until April 28, 2017. In the months leading up to April 2017, the Trump Administration will submit a budget request, and the House and Senate will both be authoring appropriation bills that will ultimately inform the final budget.

There have been reports that the Administration’s budget request may include a complete elimination of the National Endowment of Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). The ASA knows that many of our members have their work completely, or partially funded by these institutions. It is important to remember that the Administration’s request does not set the budget – the final decisions come from Congress. If your projects, research, or work would be impacted by the elimination of the NEH or the NEA, let your Members of Congress know. You can use this online tool provided by the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) to let President Trump and your specific Members of Congress know that you support the NEH and oppose its elimination.

You can sign up for action alerts from the National Humanities Alliance to receive updates and information about federal funding levels and the budget process as soon as it is available, along with suggestions on how to take action to advocate for areas that are important to you. If you are in the social sciences, you can sign up to receive the bi-weekly newsletter from the Consortium of Social Science Associations, which discusses policy developments that could impact social science research.

While emailing, calling, and engaging with your Members of Congress all help, meeting with them in person will give you the greatest opportunity to advocate for federal funding for your work. There are several upcoming conferences and events in Washington, DC, designed to give you an opportunity to meet with your Members of Congress:

The Advocacy workshop at the 59th ASA Annual Meeting followed a similar, but shortened, format to the NHA Annual Meeting and Advocacy Day. If you attended that workshop and enjoyed the experience, or wanted to attend but were unable to, consider attending one of the above listed events. If you plan to attend any of these events, please let the ASA know! If you cannot attend these conferences but will be in Washington, DC, at some other time and wish to meet with your Members of Congress, you still can. The ASA can try to assist you in this effort – you can contact the ASA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. If you are meeting with your elected officials in person, calling them, or writing them a letter, there are many resources available for you to help you make your case. You can look in the advocacy page of the member portal, or utilize the resources page on the National Humanities Alliance website, and the resources on the Consortium of Social Science Associations website.

The Spring 2017 Association of African Studies Programs Meeting will be held April 6-8, 2017, in Washington, DC. Though the agenda for this meeting is not yet finalized, past years meetings have included presentations from the U.S. Department of Education, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, members and staff of the Senate/House, and more. The organizers are planning to include Capitol Hill advocacy training and a conversation with federal relations officers for the first day of the meeting. This meeting will provide ASA members with another opportunity to engage with leaders in Washington, DC. You can find more information about the 2017 meeting on the AASP website.

In an effort to provide our members with advocacy opportunities, the ASA will be awarding two ASA members with a travel subsidy to attend one of the three advocacy conferences in Washington, DC. The deadline to apply for this award has passed. If you are awarded the subsidy, it is expected that you attend the entirety of the conference, and the ASA will ask you to share a blog post about your experience. You can find more information about this award here. ASA members living in Alaska, Alabama, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas are especially encouraged to apply. If you have any questions about this opportunity, please contact the ASA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

In addition to advocacy around funding for international education, the ASA Board of Directors issued a statement condemning the Executive Order that restricts entry into the US. You can read that statement in full here. To provide scholarly companionship to this statement, the ASA is launching a blog series on refugees, immigrants, and research coming from scholars in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. We welcome blog posts on these topics from ASA members. You can find more information about blog requirements and submission information here. Help the ASA advocate for African studies by demonstrating the academic importance and reach of this work!

The mission of the ASA is to promote the production and dissemination of knowledge about Africa, but it is our members who are the most effective advocates for their own work. The ASA can advocate by highlighting our members’ work, and by bringing our members together to demonstrate the impact federal funding has made on the advancement of their project, research, and community. Through your efforts, your Member of Congress will have a direct connection to Title VI funding, NEH grants, Fulbright-Hays, and more. As part of the 60th Anniversary Campaign, the ASA is working to expand our efforts in advocacy – and this includes making sure to provide our members with more resources and opportunities to advocate for their work. If you wish to make a small donation to the 60th Anniversary Campaign Fund to support these efforts and the other priorities identified in the campaign, you can do so here.