President’s Message

Work that Matters

Ulysses ReidUlysses Reid2009 Ronald and Susan Dubin Native Artist Fellow
Ulysses Reid
Nature, Science, and Religion, Advanced SeminarNature, Science, and Religion, Advanced SeminarParticipants in the Advanced Seminar “Nature, Science, and Religion: Intersections Shaping Society and the Environment” in the heat of discussion at the Schwartz Seminar House.
Nature, Science, and Religion, Advanced Seminar
Global Health in Times of ViolenceGlobal Health in Times of Violence
Global Health in Times of Violence
James F. BrooksJames F. BrooksPresident and Chief Executive Officer
James F. Brooks

A wide-angle view of the School’s activities this past year would reveal several dozen moments etched in memory. For me, these stand out in particular:

  • A Zía Pueblo man uses his grandfather’s sketches, discovered in the IARC archives, to create pots at once traditional and entirely modern.
  • Witness to an outbreak of bat-borne rabies, an anthropologist and an MD team up to detail the Warao people’s ability to create a community health response.
  • A sculptor from Jemez Pueblo discovers insights into his community in a 1940s publication at SAR’s McElvain Library.
  • Concerned about logging roads penetrating indigenous Ecuador’s forests, an anthropologist designs research that allows him to track disease vectors, economic change, and community transformation in 24 villages.
  • Ten specialists in religion and environmental science gather in the Schwartz Seminar House to explore the limits and possibilities of conservation movements that combine spiritual practices and scientific principles.
  • Scouring collections across Europe, a Timiskaming First Nations artist-scholar finds more than 30 painted hide coats made by Cree, Anishinabe, and Métis women in the late eighteenth century.
  • A book titled Global Health in Times of Violence, organized by humanitarian doctor Paul Farmer, races to the head of SAR Press’s best-selling titles.

What united these fascinating but disparate SAR projects during the year just past? Of course they all addressed SAR’s mission—to deepen the understanding of the human experience. Perhaps more important, they speak to the way serious devotion to research and creativity by people who are impassioned about “work that matters” can influence the lives of others, in powerful ways. Whether providing substance to memories of the past that can elevate spirits among Zia, Jemez, and First Nations peoples or peeling the lid off recent failures in public health and environmental stewardship, the artists and scholars we host at SAR are committed to bettering the world, piece by piece.

Ulysses Reid, Charles Briggs, Clara Mantini-Briggs, Adrian Wall, Jim Trostle, and Sherry Ferrell Racette are only a sample of the extraordinary people you will meet briefly in these pages. When you hear about their work in their own voices – and see the School’s dedication to expanding outreach to educators, students, and life-long learners through books, digital publications such as Southwest Crossroads, field trips, and membership lectures – you will appreciate why I say that although on some days our job is a hard one, I never for a moment regret our work.

Three sentences sum up SAR’s contribution to scholars and artists these past twelve months:

  • We provided time and solitude for individual minds to delve into the wells of knowledge without restraint.
  • We provided context and community for scholars and artists to gather and focus their minds toward producing knowledge greater than the mere sum of its parts.
  • We communicated this knowledge to academic, educational, and public constituents through media both traditional and highly experimental.

Click through our digital Annual Review and you will understand better why the work of SAR matters—to those we support, to those whose lives are made directly better by that work, and to those whose empathy for neighbors near and distant is enhanced through such efforts.

—James F. Brooks

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