Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience Wins Prestigious Challenge Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

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(Newark, NJ, Dec. 10, 2010) Rutgers University, Newark is pleased to announce that the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience (IECME) has received a prestigious quarter million dollar challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Dr. Clement Alexander Price, IECME founder, and project director for the grant, said that the funds will be used to support IECME’s endowment as well as provide bridge funds for two IECME programs, City Children and Their Cultures, and Teachers As Scholars.

This is the first challenge grant awarded by the NEH to the Institute.  It marks a major step forward in securing the Institute’s programs as key components of the state university, and of Newark’s increasingly dynamic cultural landscape.

IECME joins the The Newark Museum, awarded $500,000 for their African Arts collection, as the only New Jersey institutions to receive NEH challenge grants this year. Dr. Price, longtime resident of Newark, said Newark, NJ, with its celebrated tradition of cultural enrichment, joins New York as the only other city in the nation to receive more than one challenge grant from the NEH this year.”

IECME was founded by Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of History Clement Price in 1999, and serves the greater Newark metropolitan region with a broad array of public programs. These include lectures, symposia, film, performances and exhibitions, all of them presented to enhance “understanding of urban life, the social construction of difference, race relations, local history, urban youth culture, and education.”

The Institute’s numerous collaborators include the Newark Public Schools, The Newark Public Library, The Newark Museum, The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Boys and Girls Club of Newark, WBGO Public Radio,  New Jersey Network Public Television, the New Jersey Historical Society, the American Jewish Committee, the National Park Service, and the New Jersey State Police. According to Dr. Price, “These partnerships bridge the collegiate/community divide, fostering mutual learning and productive public service.”

The IECME’s “City Children and Their Cultures” and “Teachers As Scholars” programs are both designed to improve education and cultural enrichment for young people.  City Children and their Cultures brings scholars to Rutgers-Newark to discuss a wide range of child-centered topics.  Teachers As Scholars is a national professional development program. Since 2004 IECME has presented seminars taught by Rutgers faculty to Newark’s K-12  teachers, covering topics in the humanities, social sciences and the arts.

Clement Alexander Price is a widely published scholar and frequently quoted authority on New Jersey history, black history, the City of Newark, cultural history and the arts. As a leading “public intellectual” in New Jersey, he has been the recipient of many awards for academic and community service, including the Thomas H. Kean and Brendan T. Byrne Civic Leadership Award from the New Jersey Network Foundation; the New Jersey Professor of the Year award by The Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and the Rutgers University Hall of Distinguished Alumni. Along with his wife, Mary Sue Sweeney Price, director of The Newark Museum, he received the 2006 Ryan Award for Commitment to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Among his many public service activities, Dr. Price is a trustee of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, chair of the Save Ellis Island Foundation, president of the Newark Education Trust, and a member of the Scholarly Advisory Committee to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. He is the most senior trustee of the Newark Public Library and serves on the steering committee of the Newark Black Film Festival. In April 2008, he became a member of The New Jersey State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  Dr. Price served as the agency lead for the National Endowment for the Humanities for President Obama’s Transition Team and was appointed by former Governor Jon Corzine to chair the Newark Public Schools Superintendent Search Committee.  Along with Giles R. Wright, Dr. Price is the 1981 co-founder and co-organizer of the Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Black History Month events.