Category Archives: News

LRE’s Anne Barbaro published in American Diplomacy

Lois Roth Endowment board member Anne Barbaro recently wrote an article titled, “Locally Employed Staff Are the Lifeblood of Cultural Diplomacy” for the online journal, American Diplomacy about the Lois Roth Endowment’s annual Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Awards. These awards honor the achievements of local staff members working in cultural programs and exchanges at US embassies and consulates throughout the world. Recipients expressed gratitude for the worldwide recognition of their creativity and dedication that these awards bring. 

In honor of Lois’ work to promote crosscultural understanding and cooperation, the Roth Endowment partners with the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide the only three annual departmental awards honoring excellence in the field of cultural and educational diplomacy. The Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Award was born out of the recognition that the success of diplomatic programs overseas depends heavily on the advice and support of locally employed staff. This award reflects the immense accomplishments of its namesake and what’s more, the work continues: “In 2020, with another slate of outstanding nominees, the Roth Endowment created a new Career Achievement Award in Gill’s name to recognize outstanding local staff nearing the end of their careers.” 

As with all of our programs, donations from individual contributors make these awards possible. If you would like to show your appreciation for the work of locally-employed staff you served with, please donate HERE.


Anne Barbaro retired in 2007 after 25 years with the U.S. Information Agency and the Department of State. She currently serves on the boards of the Lois Roth Endowment and the Public Diplomacy Council and works part-time as a pre-publication reviewer at the Department of State.

Sweden: Roth‐Thomson Awards To Supplement A Fulbright Grant

A generous gift from Ann O. Thomson, whom Lois referred to as her Swedish adoptive mother, provides supplementary project support for American Fulbrighters in Sweden every year. The 2021 Roth-Thomson Awards was presented to Hannah Ritchey.

Hannah is conducting research on Muslim immigration and integration in Sweden.  She will use the Roth-Thomson Award for translation and interpretation services and travel to conduct interviews. She plans to pursue a career advising non-governmental organizations on how to care for migrants and assist their acclimation to their new community, while celebrating their history and culture.

For a complete list of recipients of the Roth‐Thomson Award for work in Sweden, please consult Swedish Project Alumni.

Finland: Roth‐Thomson Awards To Supplement A Fulbright Grant

A generous gift from Ann O. Thomson provides supplementary project support for American Fulbrighters in Finland every year, in cooperation with the Fulbright Finland Foundation.  For 2021, the award was presented to Lexi Lobdell.

Lexi is pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in International Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Lappeenranta. She plans to use the Roth-Thomson Award to support her sociological research on the ways in which globalization of the pharmaceutical business could optimize the innovation of drugs and reduce cost for the consumer.  Upon her return to the U.S., Lexi plans to pursue a career in international pharmaceutical pricing, in hopes of making life-saving drugs more accessible to consumers worldwide.

For a complete list of recipients of the Roth‐Thomson Award for work in Finland, please consult Finnish Project Alumni.

Norway: Project Support to Supplement a Fulbright Award

In collaboration with Fulbright Norway, the Roth Endowment grants an award to an American Fulbrighter in Norway every year. This year, the award went to Michelle Chang.

Michelle Chang is conducting research on Norwegian mindsets about death in collaboration with the University of Bergen’s Center for Crisis Psychology to support the Center’s work with the organizations it serves. She will use the Project Support Award to conduct and then analyze information obtained from community focus groups of Norwegian adults who have experienced a recent death of a loved one.  On her return to the United States, Michelle plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology that focuses on inequities in bereavement experiences.  She hopes to bring the insights gained from her international experiences to provide more comprehensive language and frameworks for understanding bereavement.

For a complete list of recipients of project support for work in Norway, please consult Norwegian Project Alumni.

A conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey C. Stewart

On February 25th, Dr. Jeffrey C. Stewart, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Fulbright Scholar Alumnus to Italy, joined Dr. Joanne Braxton for a virtual discussion of his most recent work, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke (2018).

Joanne Braxton, PhD is Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Professor of the Humanities Emerita at William & Mary (W&M) and a distinguished scholar of African American Literature and Culture. She is a former Fulbright Professor (Germany, Italy, France and Spain, 2001) and the proud mother of a Fulbright daughter, Mycah (Japan, 2018).

See all the events taking place at and sign up for the Fulbright75 Newsletter!

Fulbright75 Celebrates Pathbreaking Scholar of Black American History

On February 19th, a virtual panel discussion explored the life and work of renowned historian, Dr. John Hope Franklin, a Fulbright alumnus to multiple countries and former Fulbright Board Chair. Dr. Franklin’s From Slavery to Freedom forever changed the way the American story is told by illuminating the integral role of Black Americans in the United States; a recording of this event is available now

The panelists for this event, moderated by Kalenda Eaton (Univ. of OK), were Dr. Franklin’s son, John Whittington Franklin, and Nishani Frazier (Univ. of Kansas), a 2016 Fulbrighter in Norway. As Frazier put it, “Dr. Franklin was always walking with a sense of global interaction—even when he was thinking about the ways that the United States can address its own inequities and problems when it comes to racism.”

See all the events taking place at and sign up for the Fulbright75 Newsletter!

Roth Endowment Awards for Excellence in Cultural Diplomacy

We are very pleased to present the video of the LRE Awards for Excellence in Cultural Diplomacy! The 2020 Award Ceremony of the Bureau for Educational and Cultural Diplomacy (ECA) was presented virtually on December 9, 2020. This 7-minute video is an excerpt that focuses on the Awards sponsored by the Lois Roth Endowment. Kudos to our partners in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and our sincere congratulations to all the winners!

Fulbright Impact in the Field

A virtual panel discussion on “Fulbright Impact in the Field: Strengthening International Engagement on US Campuses” took place on March 8. It was organized as part of events marking the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program, which counts 400,000 alumni from all different backgrounds.

The wide-ranging conversation involved US university presidents Ronald Crutcher, Joan Gabel, Willard Gingerich and Mark Rosenberg, and was moderated by Harris Pastides, Chairman of the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (CIES). The panelists began by describing the formative impact of their own experience as Fulbright Scholars in different countries and academic fields.

The group then moved on to describe the importance of international exchanges to their institutions and to the education of global citizens. As President Joan Gabel said of the Univ. of MN, the Fulbright Program is “sort of a spine off of which all of the other really global efforts of a big university like this” are appended and grow.

The panelists discussed funding and the role of Fulbright exchanges in their respective institutions. They then recounted the various ways in which the pandemic has affected international exchanges over the last year, as they thought through what the takeaways might be moving forward.

Asked to assess the legacy of the program after 75 years, President Willard Gingerich of Montclair State University put it well, saying that the Fulbright Program is “one of the high points of American international relations. It’s one of those policies that all of us can look to, I think, with satisfaction and pride from whatever political perspective … and say: this is something that really works.”

See all the events taking place at and sign up for the Fulbright75 Newsletter!

Gill Jacot Guillarmod Career Achievement Award

We are excited to announce our new Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Career Achievement Award! 

Since 2011, the Roth Endowment Awards for Excellence in Cultural Diplomacy have been given in partnership with, and at the Annual Awards Ceremony of the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. One such award was established in 2013 to honor the achievements of Gill Jacot-Guillarmod, who worked as a Senior Cultural Assistant in South Africa for thirty years, displaying great political sensitivity and personal courage to program hundreds of Fulbright and other exchange grantees and to guide her country through its dark times of apartheid. The award recognizes locally-engaged staff members who have made significant contributions to educational and cultural diplomacy objectives shared by the U.S. and their host country.

Over the years, the number of deserving individuals nominated for the Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Award increased steadily, attesting to the important need—felt at U.S. Missions around the world—that was being met by the award. This past year, with another slate of outstanding nominees, the Roth Endowment created the new Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Career Achievement Award as a means to recognize outstanding local staff nearing the end of their careers, while at the same time honing the original Gill Award to inspire and encourage nominees at the mid-career level. 

In 2020, the award was presented to four exceptional long-serving locally engaged staff members: Ali Al Ghadban, Felicity Aziz, Ivanka Ponikvar, and Helena Vagnerova. Congratulations to all of our outstanding awardees!

Danish Project Support Awardee

Congratulations to our 2020 Danish Project Support awardee James Budinich!

Under a Fulbright grant with the American Scandinavian Foundation, James will work with the Royal Danish Academy of Music to conduct research on the Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen and the Danish New Simplicity movement during the 1960s.  He will also develop a composition for vocalist and chamber ensemble based on the work “Third-Millennium Heart” by Danish poet Ursula Andkjær Olsen. James hopes his research on the New Simplicity movement will build a bridge to new audiences through accessible compositions in which every listener, regardless of musical experience, can discover their own understanding and appreciation.

Here’s an example of James’ work, a piece composed for string quartet titled “Lines, Breaks, and Spaces” which reinterprets the poetic and visual concepts of drawn lines, lines of poetry, breaks between verses and negative space: