The Anthropologists' Fund for Urgent Anthropological Research was launched in late 1993 to support basic ethnographic research on threatened or disappearing cultures and languages of indigenous peoples. It is entirely supported by individual contributions. It is expected that the research funded will make a fundamental contribution to anthropological knowledge and will also serve, where appropriate, as an aid to indigenous peoples in their struggle to control their own destinies.

The idea for such a fund arose at the 1993 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C., as the result of discussion between G. N. Appell and Jonathan C. M. Benthall, then Director of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. There was a need to find support for research on disappearing and threatened cultures not only for the benefit of anthropological knowledge but also for the benefit of the peoples themselves. And so the AFUAR was created. Jonathan Benthall in his usual innovative style devised a plan for RAI Fellowships in Urgent Anthropology whereby the Fund and universities in the U.K. could cooperate to under take this research. This scheme owes much to the vision of Mr. Benthall!

The program was that the Fellowships in Urgent Anthropology would be under the direction of a U.K. university for a period of five years, including cost-sharing of 1/3 of budget. Then the program would be open for bidding by other universities.

In 2000 Jonathan Benthall resigned as Director of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Hilary Callan, selected as the new director, competently took over the oversight of this scheme and ably advanced its goals.

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Since inception the AFUAR has funded thirteen Royal Anthropological Institute Fellowships in Urgent Anthropology, a special grant to digitalize the data, photographs, films, and objects of Himalayan cultures and a special grant to digitalize the old records of Nanay folklore.

The Fellows have been drawn from various nations and have done research in many regions:

1995 Dr. Roxanne P. Hakim.....Vasavas of Gujarat, India

1996 Dr. Stuart Kirsch.....Yonggom of Papua New Guinea

1997 Dr. Cai Hua.....Na of Yunnan Province, P.R.C.

1998 Dr. Barthlomew Dean.....Urarina of Peru

1999 Dr. Veronica Strang.....Kowanyama, No. Queensland, Australia

2000 Dr. Christopher Duncan.....Forest Tobelo Halmahera Sulawesi Indonesia

2001 Professor Alan MacFarlane.....Himalayan region and Dr. Mark Turin

2001 Dr. Noriko Sato.....Orthodox Christians in Jazaira and Aleppo, Syria

2002 Dr. Ananda Rajah.....Karen Refuges Thailand/Burma

2003 Dr. Rogaia Abusharaf.....Southern Sudan

2004 Dr. Tatiana Bulgakova.....Nanay, Manchuria Russia

2004 Dr. Emma Gilberthorpe.....Fasu and Min people of Papua New Guinea

2005 Dr. Mark Jamieson.....Sumu people of Nicaragua’s Mosquito Coast

2006 Dr. M. Thanuja.....Konda Reddis

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Last modified: 28 Aug 07