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Professor Robin Broad wins Guggenheim Fellowship

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Robin Broad
Photo credit: Jeffrey MacMillan

On April 6, 2017, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded 173 Guggenheim Fellowships to a diverse group of scholars, artists, and scientists from the US and Canada. Among those named was School of International Service (SIS) Professor Robin Broad, the first SIS faculty member to earn the prestigious award.

The Guggenheim Fellowship program is a significant source of support for artists, scholars in the humanities and social sciences, and scientific researchers that enables them to “add to the educational, literary, artistic, and scientific power of this country, and also to provide for the cause of better international understanding.”

Broad will use the fellowship to conduct a research project, “When Poorer People and Their Governments Defend the Environment,” which will culminate into a book that debunks the myth that “people in poorer countries don’t care about the environment and that poorer governments can’t care about the environment because they have to focus on economic growth,” she said.

The project builds on existing work that Broad has conducted since 2009 in El Salvador, where metals mining has had negative impacts on the environment and the livelihoods of ordinary citizens. With Broad’s help, El Salvador recently became the first country to ban metals mining and prioritize water and the environment over gold.

“I’m really thrilled to get this fellowship and I’m especially thrilled because I began this work, not to get an award, but as pro bono work for community groups in northern El Salvador right after a number of anti-mining activist had been assassinated. I began this work because it was just the right thing to do,” said Broad.

“As anyone who is truly a scholar-practitioner in the development field would say: while this Guggenheim award was given to me, it is really for the people of El Salvador. It is really a confirmation of the importance of this movement of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to protect the environment, and of how essential it is for the world to hear this story,” she added.

“It would be hard to overstate the magnitude of this achievement. Congratulations to Professor Broad on this outstanding recognition of her work,” said James Goldgeier, dean of the School of International Service.

The great variety of backgrounds, fields of study, and accomplishments of Guggenheim Fellows is one of the unique characteristics of the Fellowship program. In all, 49 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 64 different academic institutions, 27 states and the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of Fellows.

“It’s exciting to name 173 new Guggenheim Fellows. These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best. Each year since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to continue to do so with this wonderfully talented and diverse group. It’s an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do,” said Edward Hirsch, president of the Foundation.

Since its establishment in 1925, the Foundation has granted more than $350 million in Fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, Turing Award winners, poets laureate, members of the various national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and other important, internationally recognized honors.


Learn more about Professor Robin Broad’s Guggenheim Fellowship and project.