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Draft Plan for Creating a Public Policy Center

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Draft Plan for Creating a Public Policy Center

The following plan has been approved by the AAA COPP as a draft plan for discussion purposes only. It has not been endorsed or approved in total or in part by the AAA, SfAA, or any other organizations discussed therein.

A Draft Strategic Plan for Developing A Professional Center for Human Studies and Public Policy

Submitted by:
The American Anthropological Association's
Committee on Public Policy

(DRAFT Approved by AAA COPP October 15, 2003)

Executive Summary

The goal of this public policy initiative is to increase the impact and visibility of anthropologists on public policy by professionalizing our work through the development and establishment of an anthropologically-oriented Center for Human Studies and Public Policy. We envision that the Center will ultimately provide a home for anthropological policy work to include: policy monitoring, analysis, advocacy, training and internships, a policy information library, and policy collaboration between academic and practicing anthropologists from all sub-fields and NGOs, grass roots organizations, government agencies, private businesses, and other academics and practitioners from other disciplines. In the past several years, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) has committed itself to greater formal involvement in public policy and enhanced public visibility. This plan describes a vision and process for achieving these goals which are intended to be inclusive of archaeologists, as well as cultural, physical, and linguistic anthropologists. We emphasize that this is a draft and that a final plan will depend on an ongoing development process in consultation with partners that include the AAA, AAA sections (e.g. NAPA), and SfAA. 

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Table of Contents
I. Justification: The Need for Anthropology in Public Policy
II. Background: Milestones and Momentum
III. Center Function
IV. Governance and Administration
V. Planning and Development: Timeline for Moving Ahead
VI. Budget


AAA American Anthropological Association
AAAS  American Association for the Advancement of Science
COPP  Committee on Public Policy
LRPC   Long Range Planning Committee
NAPA  National Association for the Practice of Anthropology
NGO Non Governmental Organization
SAA  Society for American Archaeology
SfAA Society for Applied Anthropology 

I.  Justification: The Need for a Policy Center


Science permits others in society less reticent, perhaps less scrupulous, almost certainly less informed, to make their own use of the [anthropological] material presented. It leaves to politicians and journalists, entrepreneurs, scoundrels and madmen, as well as to statesmen and benefactors?but especially to the powerful?the interpretation and manipulation of matters about which they frequently know little, and of   whose implications they know less, and nearly always far less than those who collected the material or made the analyses.

--Gerald Berreman1

The AAA Committee on Public Policy (COPP), formed in 1998, initiated an effort to develop our discipline?s formal capacity to address public policy concerns. The Committee's approach is based on the premise that the AAA cannot sustain an effective presence in public policy if we continue to operate on an ad hoc basis. The history of anthropology demonstrates that individual anthropologists can successfully enter policy debates and influence policies. However, effectively influencing public policy on a sustained basis requires an organizational foundation, training, and resources. Effectiveness also rests on knowledge and analysis of the policy-making process, including assessment of previous efforts, their successes and failures. Most anthropologists lack the expertise to move from analyses to concrete strategies to influence policy. Finally, public policy work done by many academic anthropologists is carried out in addition to their primary professional commitments of research, publication and teaching. Practicing anthropologists who work on policy issues are pressed to find time to keep current on theoretical developments and new knowledge in the discipline. Thus, to be effective in the policy realm we must organize and professionalize our approach, in a way that harnesses the strengths of all anthropologists.

Justification for an anthropological policy center resides not only in the need for organizational infrastructure, but most importantly in the contribution anthropologists can and should provide in policy domains. Given our disciplinary history, some are rightfully wary of the prospects of co-option by policy power structures. However, we pointedly recognize the broad cultural meaning of ?policy? which extends well beyond conventional notions of formal legislation and law. Policy ranges from formally codified state and international laws to cultural expectations of agencies, organizations, and communities. This broad view of policy, combined with ethnographic, archaeological,  and biocultural understandings, allow anthropologists to integrate an approach to policy building on multiple levels of prehistoric, historic, and contemporary conditions.

Our traditional policy role has been as brokers translating between those who design and implement policy and their targets, as buffers who help experts maintain social and conceptual distance from those they aim to change, and as critical analysts examining the local impacts of larger-level policies and forces on local groups. The Committee on Public Policy believes that anthropologists can and should collaborate to set policy agendas rather than simply facilitating policies developed from other experts further ?upstream? in the policy process. To this end, bringing non-anthropologist experts and policy makers to the Policy Center for education and training would have multiple benefits. Such benefits might include familiarizing policy makers about anthropological approaches, as well as training of anthropologists by policy makers. Anthropologists have a strong track record of utilizing archaeological, biocultural, and ethnographic approaches to provide grounded understandings of the ways in which different political economies, social contexts, hierarchies, systems of meaning, and longitudinal social processes interact with policy actions. A central tenet of an anthropologically oriented Public Policy Center will be to achieve policy outcomes that are just and equitable.

The proposed plan for a Center for Human Studies and Public Policy is clearly situated and justified in the long-term plans of the AAA. In October of 2001, Don Brenneis, then Chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee, sent a memo to COPP members asking them to review and amend the AAA?s Long Range Plan previously revised in 2000. The 2000 version of the Long Range Plan contained two objectives upon which the present plan is based:

Objective II: The AAA will foster the discussion and dissemination of research on critical social issues to policy makers and relevant public in the society at large.

Objective VIII: The AAA will promote the attraction of practicing anthropologists to the AAA and will foster initiatives for their professional development and integration into AAA?s organizational structure.

Based upon suggestions provided by the COPP, in March of 2003 the AAA Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) elevated the importance of the COPP?s policy efforts by incorporating the COPP?s Public Policy Initiative into the AAA Long Range Plan. The LRPC agreed to elevate an earlier COPP  "task" ("considering the feasibility of a public policy initiative") to a "project". Specifically, the LRPC encouraged the COPP to develop the public policy initiative with input of the LRPC, sections and other AAA committees.

Justification Summary

  • Sustaining an effective influence on policy requires an organized and professionalized infrastructure. While individual anthropologists have been effective in the policy arena, there is presently no structure to reflect and encourage their policy work.
  • There is only piecemeal knowledge of previous anthropological work in the policy arena, particularly successful case studies. There is a need for an anthropological policy clearinghouse (library) and training.
  • Both academic and practicing anthropologists have responsibilities that may impede their efforts to work on public policy issues. The Public Policy Center will provide opportunities for them to engage more directly in policy work.
  • There is no centralized method for keeping track of anthropologists working in the policy arena. A network is needed within anthropology, among other disciplines, and among non-academic organizations.
  • In keeping with AAA goals, the Policy Center would promote policy work within the discipline of anthropology.
  • The need to expand the capacity of anthropological policy work through collaboration among anthropological organizations.
  • The need to train other experts and policy makers in how to use anthropological knowledge, including ethnographic, ethnohistorical, cross-cultural, archaeological, and biocultural evolutionary approaches to policy.

II. Background

This section describes the growing momentum and energy for this effort generated through a series of events since 1988. While we recognize the substantial history of anthropological involvement in policy prior to 1988, the focus here is on recent events specifically linked to a proposed Center for Human Studies and Public Policy. In particular, we discuss how the present plan connects with the AAA?s commitment to its policy capabilities, previous conferences and meetings, consultation with potential collaborative partners such as the SfAA, and the development of a process to move from planning to realization. Because of the diversity of organizations within anthropology, various parts have often moved in different directions, e.g. Society for American Archaeology (SAA), SfAA. Our intent is to maximize collaboration among diverse anthropological organizations by focusing on a shared goal of addressing policy matters.

In 1988, the AAA established the Department of Government Relations to assist the AAA in dealing with government agencies and Congress. That same year, AAA President Roy Rappaport convened anthropologists with particular expertise to address specific policy issues, e.g. AIDS, alcohol and drugs, poverty, the environment, and others. While some of these Task Forces survive today as AAA sections, most had sunset provisions and subsequently disappeared. In 1993, as these Task Forces were fading, the AAA initiated a Long-Range Planning process. As part of the AAA?s original Long-Range Plan, a Human Policy Center was to be developed. The original thinking was for this Human Policy Center to have two goals: 1) a physical location where anthropologists could synthesize anthropological knowledge in a way that could be responsive to pressing public policy needs, and 2) training anthropologists in public policy. In 1995, a formal Human Policy Center proposal was developed. This ambitious idea was scaled back and instead the AAA launched a Task Force on Public Policy to recommend how the AAA should become involved in the public policy arena.

In 1997 the AAA established a Task Force on Public Policy to investigate ways in which our professional association could develop its capabilities to be more effective in the public policy domain. The result of this Task Force's work was the formal establishment of the AAA Committee on Public Policy (COPP) in 1998. The COPP has both an internal and external mission. The Committee's internal mission is to develop public policy expertise and enhance public policy debate among anthropologists within the AAA. The Committee's external mission is to enhance the effectiveness of AAA and anthropologists in working with policy makers and other organizations, in order to strengthen the public profile of the AAA and anthropology. The Committee is also charged with educating policy makers on issues where anthropological expertise can be brought to bear.

In 2001, a standing Liaison Commission between the AAA and SfAA, the AAA/SfAA Commission on Applied/Practicing Anthropology, was established. From its inception, the AAA COPP actively discussed and explored a public policy initiative aimed at developing some sort of anthropological public policy center. One such effort involved the hiring of a consultant to review the AAA?s defunct Congressional Fellowship program, along with the SfAA?s internship program. A notable finding of the report indicated that outside funding for policy related work is likely to be issue driven and unlikely to be tied to a specific discipline. A similar point was later raised in a COPP public policy initiative meeting held in Washington DC. Attended by COPP members and representative anthropologists working in non-academic policy milieus, it was decided that focused issue areas would have to lead the charge. In this case, issues related to health disparities would be the first area of concentration. Discussions in this and other COPP meetings revealed the need to take a phased approach by focusing on issue areas for which anthropologists can make a contribution. In addition, the importance of underscoring collaborative efforts among practicing and academic anthropologists, as well as between anthropologists and other disciplines, is also central for funding support outside our professional associations. In short, the success of an anthropological policy center will likely derive from the merits of issues addressed rather than championing the importance of our discipline.

In 2001 the AAA COPP drafted a two-page ?Concept Outline? for a ?Public Policy Initiative.? Specifically, the outline proposed the establishment of a Public Policy Institute. The proposed goals and activities of the institute were briefly outlined and are essentially consistent with the proposed goals and activities in this plan. However, the original concept paper and subsequent proposals lacked a mechanism to engage a process that would move the idea from the drafting board to actuality.

In March of 2001, the COPP considered a proposal forwarded by Pete Brosius, then President of the Anthropology and Environment Section, entitled ?Professionalizing Public Policy at AAA2.?  Dr. Brosius? proposal challenged and encouraged the AAA via the COPP to begin an active process of formalizing our public policy efforts through the formation of a public policy institute. This draft proposal laid the groundwork for considerable COPP discussion and a revised version of that proposal provides the foundation for the present plan.

Brosius and Thu reported the idea of exploring a public policy initiative to the Section Assembly meeting at the Annual AAA meetings in 2001. The Section Assembly was virtually unanimous in their support. However, they expressed a desire to be involved in the development and there was a sense that the notion of policy should not be too narrowly construed. It was also recommended that Sections be consulted to help shape the priorities and that the concept plan be more clearly developed before further involvement of AAA Sections.

In March of 2002, Thu and Brosius, both members of the SfAA Policy Committee, met with the Committee at the SfAA Annual Meeting in Atlanta to explore how the AAA and SfAA might collaborate on establishing a Public Policy Center. Particular attention was devoted to developing a process by which AAA and SfAA input could be shared. In addition, Brosius and Thu met with the SfAA Executive Board at the Fall 2002 AAA meetings in New Orleans to inform them about ongoing plans and to gain input as the process. In both cases, the SfAA communicated an interest in the effort and a desire to be involved in the planning phases. Following the suggestions of the full COPP, early involvement and communication with SfAA continued. At the spring 2003 SfAA Annual Meeting in Portland, Thu again met with the SfAA Policy Committee to provide an up-date on the development plans with specific attention to a timeline and process (see next section for details). An important outcome of the discussion was a process by which SfAA would be included in the planning during the 2003-2004 development years. In addition, the SfAA Executive Board formally recognized the SfAA Policy Committee as the contact body within SfAA to work with the AAA COPP on the Public Policy Initiative. In addition, Thu and Brosius met with the NAPA Board at the November 2002 Annual AAA meetings in New Orleans. NAPA expressed similar interests in the effort and agreed that Dee Rubin would serve as a liaison with the COPP?s efforts.

In September of 2002, Brosius and Thu led an Environmental Policy Conference Sponsored by the AAA COPP, A&E, C&A, and the University of Georgia Department of Anthropology in September of 2002. The conference, entitled ?Environment, Resources, and Sustainability: Policy Issues for the 21st Century? attracted approximately 75 anthropologists. The conference differed from traditional academic conferences in that participants were asked to not only report research, but to specifically identify instrumental ways in which they can translate anthropological expertise into prioritized topics to affect policies. The conference was designed to identify and consolidate anthropological expertise on environmental policies. Recognizing that policy efforts are issue driven, the purpose of the conference was to identify key environmental policy issues that anthropologists should attend to by drawing on expertise within our membership and sections. The results of the conference were subsequently used to provide comment to the National Science Foundation's 10-year research plan. In addition, the results were presented at a session of the SfAA?s 2003 Annual Meeting in Portland. The conference approach can be used as a model process for both AAA and SfAA to identify and develop priority policy areas that can be worked on via the Public Policy Center.

At the AAA?s 2002 Annual Meetings the COPP designated a Public Policy Initiative Working Group consisting of Pete Brosius, Suzanne Heurtin-Roberts, Peggy Overbey, Dee Rubin, and Kendall Thu. The working group was charged with ?identifying and developing a workable framework for an anthropologically-oriented public policy initiative.? Specifically, the group was charged with providing a formal written plan and developing an inclusive review process based upon work-to-date. The Working Group met on March 5, 2003 to continue the work focusing on the process of developing the public policy initiative (PPI), including identifying possible partners, mechanisms for input, framework and a timetable. The planning group agreed that the focus should be on working both within AAA and other organizations, most notably SfAA. This would include consultation and gaining support of members and Sections within AAA. In addition, the planning group reaffirmed the importance of continuing to explore ideas with SfAA as an important collaborative partner. The group recognized several conceptual and logistical challenges this presents. However, policy expertise within SfAA and the opportunity for cross-fertilization between the two organizations would likely make for a stronger PPI and work toward fulfilling the AAA?s Long Range plan of providing opportunities for practicing anthropologists. The working group also agreed to use the document ?Toward More Effective Public Engagement in Anthropology: A Strategic Vision? as a template for the plan, with additional clarification on process, justification, and goals, as well as organizational and intra-/interdisciplinary relationships. It was agreed that a draft concept plan would be sent to the COPP by late August 2003 for comment. It was also recommended that the concept plan/paper be presented at a policy forum at the 2003 AAA Annual Meeting in Chicago where Section leaders and AAA members would be invited to attend and comment. The full COPP met on March 14 and accepted the initial plan recommended by the PPI Working Group. At the same meeting, the COPP designated one of its Public Policy Forums to be used to share the COPP's draft plan and garner input from Section leaders and general membership. The Committee also agreed to dedicate two articles in its AN Policy Forum column to provide a brief up-date on the PPI effort and to advertise the Policy Forum at the Annual Meetings in Chicago.

The progress to date and recent momentum is the result of widespread member interest and enthusiasm. However, it has been tempered by a fragmented start-pause-stop effort that has lacked a coherent planning process that can be followed and sustained. Organizational structures, committee and personnel turnover, the lack of institutional memory, and the over-burdened responsibilities of our members and staff have all no doubt played a role. However, the durability of the central ideas remains and in the last two years the momentum has grown and coalesced into the present plan. Perhaps a self-evident lesson of the work to date is that our professional association's desire to influence policy will only occur if we indeed create the infrastructure and capacity to professionalize our efforts in a manner quite different from our current structures and approaches.

III. Center Function

The primary function of the proposed Policy Center is to make anthropology more influential in policy domains. By extension this will result in increased public visibility for anthropology. The policy work of the Center may not necessarily lead to the establishment of policy positions by collaborating organizations. While a process can be set up in which Center Policy recommendations can be adopted as positions by the collaborating professional associations, much of the work will likely be carried out by identified groups of anthropologists with shared interests in particular policy areas, such as health disparities and the environment. In addition, anthropologists are uniquely situated to assemble expertise across disciplines to address particular policy areas. As such, the Center can serve the function of a multi-disciplinary ?convener? without losing its anthropological foundation

Policy work entails a broad range of possible activities, only part of which includes working with laws or legislation. It also includes influencing agency or administrative action, enforcement, directing research funding, identification and coalescing of partnerships with scientific groups, service on advisory boards, the creation of networks and partnering with NGOs and other private organizations, public advocacy, work with grassroots organizations, assembling and presenting research, and legal action, to name but a few. Influencing policy comes through multiple strategies to include advocacy work on behalf of local groups and communities, assembling and presenting research, direct lobbying of lawmakers, use of media, creation of legal strategies with attorneys, expert testimony in courts, creation of public pressure via constituency groups and grassroots organizations, meetings with agency administrators and key personnel, mapping and identifying leverage points in political systems, and many others.

The Center will also function to educate and train anthropologists to understand and be more effective in policy domains. This will be accomplished both through in-house training and internship opportunities provided by the Center, and through external opportunities facilitated by the Center, e.g. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In the past two decades, anthropologists employed in government agencies, NGOs, and advocacy groups, as well as those serving as consultants, have gained a wealth of experience in the policy world. They have learned how to effectively communicate our knowledge succinctly and accessibly. Meanwhile, most academic anthropologists have had little opportunity to acquire these skills. The Center will provide an opportunity for academic ?guests? to collaborate with their public arena colleagues and to acquire skills they can transport back to the academy. In addition, the Center will provide opportunities for non-academics to reengage with current theoretical perspectives and to examine the approaches they use in policy work.

We intend to involve anthropologists at several points in their career cycles in policy training. We will identify and build on existing opportunities for graduate students to participate in Center activities for an academic year. For example, we will negotiate with state, federal, and international agencies, as well as NGOs, to place students in internships for a year without any FTE line implications. In addition, we will actively recruit students to apply for the limited number of Congressional Fellowships offered through organizations such as the AAAS. Presidential Management Interns (PMI) as well as similar programs offered by the American Association of Public Health and AAAS will also be explored. We will encourage and help negotiate senior placements for anthropologists who spend their sabbatical years in a policy position. We will also work with the Association of Senior Anthropologists to develop programs for retired professionals to do volunteer, part-time and temporary work in the policy arena.

The Center will also serve to train non-anthropologist policy agents in ethnographic, ethnohistorical, cross-cultural, archaeological, and biocultural evolutionary knowledge and approaches. This will require the creation and maintenance of a policy library specifically tailored to anthropological issues. This will include the cataloguing of successful and unsuccessful case studies. In addition, applied anthropological policy research of the sort archived by John van Willigen at the University of Kentucky could be maintained as a kind of policy archive analogous to the HRAF files. Communication between COPP member (Paul Durrenberger) and HRAF administrators (Melvin Ember) revealed a willingness to explore developing such an archive.

The precise policy activities will depend upon the issue areas taken on by the Center. The issue areas will be shaped by anthropologists in our respective professional associations and sections. The AAA COPP has recognized the need to focus on priority policy areas for which anthropologists can effectively contribute. Health disparities and the environment were identified as two such areas. Other issue areas will be shaped by anthropologists in our respective professional associations and sections. As discussed in the next section, a Policy Program Board for the Center will review and approve proposals from anthropologists desiring to utilize Center resources and expertise to address particular policy issue areas. For the AAA, proposals will be encouraged via sections, with particular emphasis on collaboration across sections. Sections interested in promoting issue areas at the Center will be encouraged to use the Public Policy Forums offered by the AAA COPP as a mechanism to coalesce, focus, and gain member support for particular issue areas. In addition, the health disparity and environmental conferences will be used as models to assemble anthropological expertise and bringing it to bear on relevant policy issues.

The Center will function to coordinate policy-related work between the AAA, Society for Applied Anthropology and the Society for American Archaeology. As described below, the SfAA, the AAA, and AAA sections will have a presence on the program board and policy issue area proposals will be encouraged from their members and topical interest groups. For SfAA, the SfAA Public Policy Committee will take the lead in creating a process by which SfAA issue areas can be identified and focused into work taken on by the Center. In addition, SfAA and NAPA have a wealth of expertise on policy work and should be closely involved in training. AAA sections will also play a central role in the Center, both through the identification and advancement of identified policy issue areas in their sections, but also through their representation on a Center program Committee.

The diverse range of anthropological experiences and expertise will no doubt prompt interest in many policy issue areas. However, it is critically important to start our effort with those issue areas that offer opportunity for success, including funding. Hence, we will initially focus our Policy Center development efforts by focusing on health disparities and the environment. Both of these areas are led by existing anthropological efforts that have done the necessary groundwork, have good track records and reputations, and developed policy networks and experiences. In addition, both areas embody issues that connect the subfields. For example, both archaeological and cultural anthropological work is relevant for addressing environmental policy challenges resulting from substantial changes in human adaptation to an increasingly globalized world.

The Center will also develop networks of experts inside the discipline by organizing professional events and developing electronic communication vehicles.  The AAA already maintains an electronic database of experts, but thus far it has primarily been used as an internal professional resource. We can build on this database by focusing more explicitly on policy expertise both within anthropology and across disciplines.

The Center will also undertake a number of activities in an effort to coordinate our efforts to influence policy:

  1. It will track state and federal legislation and help to place anthropologists in positions to make a difference (for instance, testifying in federal hearings).
  2. It will identify critical policy actions and identify strategic actors and points of intervention.
  3. It will develop domestic and international process models for influencing policy.
  4. It will provide AAA members with resources to assist them in developing policy-relevant research, formulate models for presenting anthropological data more effectively, and translate bodies of anthropological knowledge into actionable items.
  5. It will promote the appointment of anthropologists to scientific advisory boards.
  6. It will build relationships between anthropologists and the media in order to enlarge public visibility and ensure that the views of those affected as well as anthropologically-informed policy solutions are heard. Center staff will keep track of emerging news stories and draw on its database of anthropologists to provide media with knowledgeable sources. It will provide anthropologists with training to talk to media.
  7. It will serve as a convener of disciplines brought together within an anthropological context to respond to salient policy issues and formulate coordinated action. This can include interdisciplinary conferences, workshops, and brainstorming sessions.
  8. It will provide institutional support for projects that raise the public visibility of anthropologists engaged in public policyissues. AAA might, for instance, develop a closer relationship with Science/Natural History programmers at PBS so as to provide introductions and guidance to anthropologists developing such projects. This may provide the added opportunity for increased interaction between the AAA, archaeologists, and paleoanthropologists.

IV.  Governance and Administration

The Center will be a coordinated effort between AAA, AAA sections (e.g. NAPA), and SfAA. Planning work to date has revealed a recognition that collaboration among these organizations will make for a more effective Policy Center. Yet this view is tempered by a mutual uneasiness over territorial encroachment and concerns about underlying motivation. Recent years have witnessed growing cooperation between these organizations, with considerable overlap in membership and the development of formal liaison committees. There may be no better time to create the most effective Policy Center possible which requires the talent, resources, and commitment from each of these organizations. The Center will thus be responsive to the concomitant goals of each organization to increase collaboration and create opportunities for practicing anthropologists. While the actual structure of the Center?s governance will require considerable input and discussion leading to the creation of a formalized charter and/or by-laws, including designation of legal organization status, we provide the following plan to launch discussion.

We propose the Center be governed  by both an Administrative Board and a Program Committee. The Administrative Board will have the primary function of fiscal and staff oversight. The Program Committee will have the primary responsibility for reviewing and approving programmatic direction. We suggest the Administrative Board be composed of the Presidents (or their designees from their respective Executive Boards) of the AAA, SfAA, and NAPA, the Chairs of the AAA COPP, the Chair of the SfAA Public Policy Committee, and a representative from the AAA-SfAA Liaison Committee. We propose the Program Committee include one representative each from the AAA COPP and the SfAA Public Policy Committee, one member from NAPA (approved by NAPA Board), the AAA Director of Government Relations, two Section leaders from AAA (approved by AAA COPP), two members of SfAA (approved by SfAA Public Policy Committee), and a student representative rotated between the three organizations. Other considerations include representation from the host institution or organization. Legal aspects will be attended to in the course of the Center?s development. 

V.  Planning and Development: Timeline for Moving Ahead

We plan to develop the Public Policy Center in a staged process, contingent on the availability of funding. Toward that end, we have started to move from concept to realization by forming a subcommittee to draft a vision statement, a strategic plan, and a funding proposal. We envision the Center being established in two basic stages.

Phase One (Fall 2002 ? Fall 2004): Planning and Member Input

In this phase, we develop a plan containing the vision and structure of the Center, establish coordination between different governing bodies (AAA COPP, SfAA Public Policy Committee, and AAA Executive Board), gain member input, and get final approval from the Executive Boards of participating organizations.

Fall 2002 AAA Annual Meeting

  • Brosius draft plan discussed by AAA COPP.
  • AAA COPP agreed to move ahead; approves and charges planning group to develop plan.
  • Held information-sharing meeting with SfAA Executive Board

Spring 2003 SfAA Annual Meeting

  • Held information sharing meeting with SfAA Public Policy Committee
  • Received approval for SfAA Public Policy Committee  to work from SfAA Executive Board to work with the AAA COPP on the Public Policy Initiative.

Spring 2003 AAA COPP Meeting

  • COPP approved Public Policy Forum on Public Policy Initiative for Fall 2003 AAA Annual Meeting

Spring 2003 AAA COPP Planning Group Meeting 

  • Brosius plan discussed; process and timeline for expanding the Policy Initiative plan developed.
  • Draft plan to be delivered to full COPP for review by late August, 2003.

Future Timeline 

  • Early September, 2003: full COPP feedback on draft plan.
  • Early September, 2003: AAA Section heads invited to AAA Public Policy Forum to discuss Public Policy Initiative.
  • September 15, 2003: AAA AN article submitted announcing draft plan and inviting members to Public Policy Forum for input at AAA Fall 2003 Annual Meeting.
  • November, 2003: AAA Annual Meetings
    • Public Policy Forum on Public Policy Initiative.
    • Presentation to AAA General Assembly.
    • Discussions with SfAA Policy Committee Chair.
    • Up-date to AAA Executive Committee.
    • Up-date to NAPA Board.
  • January - February 2004: COPP Planning Group revises plan based on AAA Annual Meeting input.
  • February 15, 2004: Revised plan submitted to full COPP for review and input.
  • March 2004: Revised plan presented at SfAA Annual Meeting to gain input from SfAA Committee on Public Policy and SfAA members.
  • May 2004: COPP Working group revises proposal based on SfAA input.
  • June 2004: Meeting among policy interested anthropologists who have relationships or experiences with Foundations that may potentially fund the Center.
  • July 2004: Final proposal presented to AAA COPP and the SfAA Public Policy Committee.
  • November, 2004: Plan presented to AAA Executive Committee and SfAA Board for final approval.
  • November, 2004: COPP meets to draft plans for 2nd phase.

Phase Two: Locating the Center, Creating the Boards, and the By-Laws.

At the AAA Annual Meetings in the fall of 2004, we intend to begin Phase Two, which is the start of actualizing the organizational foundation, operating procedures, and  process models. We suggest that the location of the Center be determined by potential host institutions submitting proposals (similar to the process followed for journal editors). The inter-organizational administrative body described above would be empowered to make the final decision concerning location.

VI.   Budget

We propose a two-phase budget corresponding to the establishment phase work for 2004 and the Center start-up work in 2005. Work in Phase 1 is ongoing and primarily focuses on inter-organizational discussions and feedback between AAA, AAA sections, and SfAA. The goal is for all these organizations to approve the current plan by the end of the calendar year 2004. It should be noted that funding for Phase 1 efforts thus far largely comes from the AAA, particularly through staff and the COPP. In addition, individuals have contributed their own resources to travel to meetings and conferences in an effort to facilitate discussion and collaboration among involved organizations. In order to avoid the somewhat fragmented approaches of the past, involved organizations will need to commit support. This is critical because a key lesson from efforts to-date aptly demonstrates that this undertaking cannot be accomplished on a part-time voluntary basis. Specific funds will be required for travel, communication, meetings, and to support work to identify potential Center funding sources and to draft preliminary grant proposals. To that end, the primary expense in Phase 1 will be a proposed meeting in late spring (June) of 2004 to bring together anthropologists who have worked on a range of policy issues and/or who also have relationships or experiences with Foundations.  The goal is to explore with this group the possible funding strategies for the Center. It should be noted that funding for Center policy activities first requires the legitimization of the Center by collaborative organizations. Hence, seed money is necessary from the cooperating professional associations to create the infrastructure before foundations would be willing to support the actual policy-related activities within the Center. The timing for the meeting is appropriate since it will occur after the AAA and SfAA have provided their feedback on the plan, but before their respective Executive Boards vote on the final Center proposal (which will occur in the Fall of 2004)

Phase 1: Establishment Budget for 2004

Funding Sources

AAA (COPP, Sections, & NAPA):  $10,000
SfAA: $10,000
TOTAL $20,000


Illustrative Budget
(up to Sept 2004)
(Sept 2004-Sept 2005)
AAA contribution 
SfAA contribution
AAA contribution
SfAA contribution
 External Sources
Part-time Coordinator         
Administrative Assistant 
Faculty Researcher        
Visiting Practitioner4        
Office Expenses (phone, stationery, photocopying)        
Workshop support: Per diem (2 days, (10 participants @ $200.00/day) 
Conference Coordination  
Travel6  (will depend on location)

Phase 2: Start-up Budget (2005)

This is to be determined through the course of planning in 2003-2004. However, we will need to demonstrate in-kind contributions from AAA, AAA sections (e.g. NAPA) SfAA, and perhaps the host institution (if it is not one of the collaborating organizations) in order to leverage further funds from private foundations and other sources. Ideally, proposals written during Phase 1 will secure funding for the basic operations of the Center and partial support for the first two visiting fellows. It is hoped that the funds from the AAA and SfAA could be used for such activities. 


1  March 24, 1967 Presidential Address to the Southwestern Anthropological Association.
2  Dr. Brosius submitted a revised version of this to the COPP in November 2002 entitled ?Toward a More Effective Public   Engagement in   Anthropology: A Strategic Vision?
3  A significant portion of administrative costs will be contributed by time volunteered by individual participants and supplies and operating costs that will be covered through each individual university or organization of the participant. These contributed amounts are difficult to quantify, but can be substantial.
4  Indicates partial salary replacement for one semester.
5  Long distance phone calls, postage, overnight delivery, photocopying
6  Some invitees will need full or partial support; estimate $300.00 per ticket for one-half of invitees.
7  Might include equipment rental, stationery supplies, refreshments, etc.

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