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Sharing Words, Changing Worlds

Pulitzer Prize Winner & Poet Laureate
Rita Dove

Thursday, April 12, 2012
Tempe Mission Palms

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Arizona Humanities Council was proud to present Rita Dove as the keynote speaker for Sharing Words, Changing Worlds. Rita Dove shared her journey in writing Sonata Mulattica and poems from the book.

Rita Dove received the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Obama. She served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995. Among her many honors are the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities and the 2006 Common Wealth Award. In 1996, President Bill Clinton bestowed upon her the National Humanities Medal. From 1981 to 1989, Rita Dove taught creative writing at Arizona State University. She currently is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA.

-Thank you to our Sponsor-

Click here to see photos from the event

2012 Humanities Awards

The Dan Shilling Public Humanities Scholar Award Nominees

  • Dr. Joni Adamson, Arizona State University
  • Elena Díaz Björkquist, Sowing the Seeds, Tucson
  • Dr. Albrecht Classen, University of Arizona
  • Nancy Dallett, Arizona State University
  • Dr. Betsy Fahlman, Arizona State University
  • Mr. Mike Lippman, University of Arizona
  • Dr. Melanie Ohm, Cultural Arts Coalition

Recipients of the Dan Shilling Public Humanities Scholar Award

This year we were please to recognize two outstanding individuals with the Dan Shilling Humanities Scholar Award.

Elena Díaz Björkquist

Elena among her many other roles, is a scholar and research affiliate with Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW) at the University of Arizona. For the past 10 years Elena has encouraged cultural awareness of the Latina community through writing, artistic expression and understanding their history.

Growing up as a Mexican American in Morenci, and seeing the eventual demise of the town when it was demolished to expand the mine, provoked Elena to write two books of short of stories about her people - Water from the Moon and Suffer Smoke.

Elena is the co-founder of Sowing the Seeds, an engaging group of women writers who are writing and publishing for the first time in their lives. The group has published two memoir anthologies with the first being selected as a top 100 best book of the Southwest. The group's works has now expanded into writing and arts workshops, community readings, and panel participations.

Elena has been an Arizona Humanities Council Road Scholar for the past 11 years as a Chautauqua performer and history presenter. Through all of her roles, she reaches out and engages others whom may never have thought they too would come to love the humanities.

Nancy Dallett

Nancy is the academic associate for the Public History Program in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies. She was trained at New York University and has been practicing public history methodology for over 30 years across the United States on projects including museum exhibits, radio documentaries, historic preservation, interpretive signage, oral histories, and cultural heritage tourism to create more nuanced and collaborative public art.

She has served as principal investigator for over 20 National Park Service projects including administrative histories, historic resource studies, cultural landscape interpretive signage, and museum planning and design. She regularly serves as advisor and contributor to local, regional, and national public history projects to advocate for the best synthesis of academic studies to inform public audiences.

Nancy has worked on numerous public humanities projects, most notably in 2001-2002 as Project Coordinator on "Moving Waters: The Colorado River & the West," a multi-dimensional program exploring the history and impact of the Colorado River through a 16-panel traveling exhibition, lectures, and a six-part, original radio documentary.

The Juliana Yoder Friend of the Humanities Award Nominees

Recipient of the Juliana Yoder Friend of the Humanities Award


Arizona Town Hall is a private, nonprofit civic organization created in 1962 to establish, through research and discussion, a group of Arizona citizens who are well-informed on the many facets of the state's economic, cultural and social life.

The Arizona Town Hall's 98th Report and Town Hall, "Capitalizing on Arizona's Arts and Culture," focused on Arizona's diverse and vibrant arts and culture community as an important player in invigorating the economy, primary and secondary education, and overall quality of life in our state.

The Arizona Town Hall is an integral partner in the Arizona Humanities Council (AHC)'s Project Civil Discourse program, a special AHC initiative that works in collaboration with organizations from around the state to provide opportunities for the public to participate in forums and events that share and provide insight on collaborative problem-solving skills.