Who We Are

<h1>Who We Are</h1> billboard image

Katelynn Averyt, Program Assistant
Katelynn Averyt is the program coordinator for the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative in the Office of the Provost, Under Secretary for Museums and Research. Prior to her work in the Office of the Provost, Katelynn was an assistant to the Director for Strategic Planning at the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. She received her M.A. in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University and her B.A. in Classics from The Catholic University of America.

Alda Benjamen, Research Associate
Dr. Alda Benjamen completed her Ph.D. in Modern Middle Eastern History at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her dissertation, "Negotiating the Place of Assyrians in Modern Iraq," examines the role of Assyrians, a Christian ethno-religious group, in Iraq's intellectual and oppositional movements in the second half of the twentieth century. She bases her research on original sources uncovered in Baghdad, Erbil, Duhok, and Mosul in languages ranging from Arabic, Classical Syriac, and modern Aramaic. Dr. Benjamen was a fellow at the American Academic Research Institute in Iraq and holds a master's degree from the Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations Department at the University of Toronto in Syriac Studies.

Stacy Bowe, Training Coordinator
Stacy Bowe is currently a training coordinator for the Office of the Provost, Under Secretary for Museums and Research within the Smithsonian Institution and was the Local Course Coordinator for the First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAC) training course which was held in summer 2016 in Washington, D.C. She was previously one of the course assistants for the FAC 2015 course. After completing her Master's program in Managing Archaeological Sites at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, she participated in a six-month internship with the UNESCO Culture Unit in Bangkok, Thailand, where she assisted with processing submissions to the 2014 Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. Primarily interested in international archaeological site conservation, Stacy has excavated and conducted conservation surveys in Washington D.C., London, and even Merv, Turkmenistan. Previously, Stacy was the Department Assistant in the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research at the Smithsonian’s Freer | Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., where she oversaw the administrative management of the office as well as assisted conservators on several technical studies. Her bachelor’s degree in Archaeology was obtained from Dickinson College, Pennsylvania.

Brian I. Daniels, Director of Research and Programs, Penn Cultural Heritage Center, University of Pennsylvania Museum
Brian I. Daniels is the director of research and programs for the Penn Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Daniels co-directs the Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq Project, which aims to enhance the protection of cultural heritage by supporting professionals and activists in conflict areas, and leads a National Science Foundation-supported study about the intentional destruction of cultural heritage in conflict. He has also worked with local communities on issues surrounding heritage rights and repatriation for over fifteen years. Previously, he served as the manager of the National Endowment for the Humanities regional center initiative at San Francisco State University, where he worked on strategies for community engagement and folklore documentation. Dr. Daniels received his doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Lori Foley, Administrator, Heritage Emergency National Task Force
Lori Foley coordinates the functions of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF), ensuring that local, state, and federal cultural stewards and emergency managers work together before and after disasters to protect cultural heritage. Prior to joining FEMA and being detailed to the Smithsonian, Foley was VP of Emergency Programs at Heritage Preservation, where her responsibilities included creating and supporting cultural heritage emergency networks, including the Alliance for Response and the State Heritage Emergency Partnership. She has lectured widely and conducted numerous workshops on emergency preparedness and response at cultural institutions across the U.S. and internationally.

Grace Golden, Intern
Grace Golden is currently an intern working on the upcoming publication, “Reflecting on our Heritage: Syrian and Iraqi Voices on Culture, Conflict, and Rebuilding.” She is also the administrative coordinator at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center. Grace began working with the Cultural Heritage Rescue Initiative in 2015 as a Katzenberger Intern for two curatorial projects, “Ancient History, Modern Destruction”, which opened at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in December 2015, and “Death of History,” which has been shown at the Russell Senate Office Building, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Grace received a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in Anthropology and Art History, with a minor in Museums & Society.

Richard Kurin, Acting Provost/Under Secretary for Museums and Research
Richard Kurin is the Smithsonian’s Acting Provost/Under Secretary for Museums and Research, responsible for most of the Institution’s national museums, cultural and educational programs. For two decades before that, Kurin directed the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and was responsible for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival held every summer on the National Mall, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and other cultural programs and products that have won Grammy, Emmy, and Academy awards. He also produced major national special events, from presidential inaugurals to the opening of national museums and dedication of memorials. Kurin is liaison to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and other boards. He led a U.S. and international project to rescue Haiti’s cultural heritage following the devastating 2010 earthquake and oversees similar Smithsonian efforts to help save heritage in other nations. He served on the U.S. Commission for UNESCO and helped draft an international treaty on safeguarding the world’s living cultural heritage now ratified by more than 160 nations. He has been honored by the International Council of Museums, Harvard, the American Anthropological Association; the American Folklore Society, and the Smithsonian and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A former Fulbright-Hays fellow, Kurin earned his doctorate in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago and taught at The Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of several books, his latest, the best-selling The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects, which is now also a Great Courses lecture series and a worldwide MOOC.

Corine Wegener, Cultural Heritage Preservation Officer, Office of the Acting Provost/Under Secretary for Museums and Research
Corine Wegener is the cultural heritage preservation officer in the Office of the Acting Provost/Under Secretary for Museums and Research at the Smithsonian Institution, where she coordinates the Smithsonian’s outreach programs for cultural heritage in crisis. Before arriving at the Smithsonian, she was associate curator in the department of Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. In a concurrent Army Reserve career, Wegener served on several military deployments, including as Arts, Monuments, and Archives Officer for the 352d Civil Affairs Command in Baghdad, Iraq, 2003-2004. Her Smithsonian projects include the Haiti Cultural Recovery Project and emergency programs for colleagues in Mali, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Nepal. Wegener is founder and past president of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield and Chair of the ICOM Disaster Relief for Museums Task Force. She holds a B.G.S from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and M.A. degrees in both art history and political science from the University of Kansas.

Liz Kirby, TBA