Creates humanities programs

The Guam Humanities Council is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting community humanities programming for the people of Guam. The organization was founded in 1991 as the result of an effort spearheaded by professor George Boughton of the University of Guam. The organization was officially incorporated on September 19, 1991.

The original incorporator members included: George J. Boughton, Rosa Palomo, Remington Rose-Crossley, Nerissa Bretania-Shafer, Robert A. Underwood, Antonio Leon Guerrero, Alberto Lamorena, John Morvant, Mary Louise Wheeler, Eulalia J. Harui-Walsh and Sister Francis Jerome Cruz.

Mission

The mission of the Guam Humanities Council is to foster community engagement and dialogue, inspire critical thinking, celebrate diversity and enrich the quality of life of island residents through the power of the humanities.

Governance

An eleven-member board of directors governs the council. The board of directors is made up of representatives of academia, the general community and gubernatorial appointees. Directors serve an initial three-year term renewable for an additional term. The sitting members of the board of directors elect new directors.

The council is managed by an executive director who oversees the day-to-day operations and reports to the executive council of the board of directors.

National Endowment for the Humanities affiliate

The Guam council is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. As such, it receives an annual operational grant from the national organization. The council raises additional funds for programming through fundraising activities, grant writing and limited product sales.

Programs and activities

The Guam Humanities Council was initially established as a granting organization, but eventually established special council projects and activities. Today, the council presents a diverse range of quality humanities programs that include:

• Motheread/Fatheread Family Literacy Program
• Community Grant Program
• Smithsonian Institution Museum on Main Street (MoMS)
• Cultural Workshops and Performances
NEH We The People Initiative
• Good Offices
• Resource Center

The council also organizes an annual fundraising event that has a major humanities component. The first such event was held in 1993 and included a weeklong series of renaissance music activities featuring the “Waverly Consort” and traditional Chamorro music.

In 2006, the council presented Writing the Pacific, featuring the preeminent Samoan novelist, poet and scholar Albert Wendt, who gave readings of his work, conducted a writing workshop at the University of Guam, premiered the documentary film “The New Oceania,” and gave the keynote address at the council’s gala anniversary dinner that was accompanied by readings from Guam and other Micronesian poets and writers.

For 2007, the Council presented, Envisioning the Pacific, a series of three events, From L.A. to Guam: Alex Munoz – Chamorro Filmmaker; Micronesia Sound Waves and Ekungok yan Atan, Listen and Look: Stories for Guam, that focused on the use of visual media and technology to document and effectively communicate cultural experience in Guam and throughout the region.

By Jillette Leon-Guerrero and Kimberlee Kihleng, PhD

For further reading

Guam Humanities Council (accessed August 4, 2010).