Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

Charlottesville, VA – Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) has received $126,797 in outright funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for its 2016 project entitled A State of Many Nations: Immigration and the Changing Face of Virginia. The community-based project will include a two-part public forum at the Virginia Festival of the Book, statewide public programs, and a teacher’s guide explaining Latin American immigration in the United States.

The award is one of the first twenty-one grants totaling $3.6 million made under the NEH’s new Humanities in the Public Square grant program, created to put humanities scholars in direct dialogue with the public on some of the most pressing issues of the day. “Using the unique insights of the humanities, these projects address a diverse range of subjects in order to bring new audiences and organizations together,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams.

“As the Commonwealth continues to experience significant growth in immigrant populations, public discussions like those enabled by this grant will prove critical in defining what it means to be a Virginian,” said VFH president Robert C. Vaughan III. “These programs will provide a forum for our state’s residents to understand experiences that may be different from their own, furthering our collective sense of self-identity and appreciation for the diverse cultural backgrounds in our midst.”

The 2016 Virginia Festival of the Book programs funded by this grant will explore a diverse range of cultural identities within our state and around the world through personal stories from authors, photographers, and community members. Additional details are available at Event details:

What: A State of Many Nations: Immigration and the Changing Face of Virginia is the first in a two-part series of free programs as part of the 2016 Virginia Festival of the Book.

Where: UVa’s Culbreth Theatre in Charlottesville, VA

When: Thursday, March 17 at 6:00 PM

Who: Authors Tom Gjelten (A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story) and Gustavo Pérez Firmat (Life on the Hyphen: The Cuban-American Way), along with award-winning photographer Lloyd Wolf (Living Diversity: The Columbia Pike Documentary Project), will present a combination of stories, data, and images related to Virginia’s changing demographic and the faces, cultures, and voices of immigrants.

What: Beyond Background Characters: Life in Hyphen-American, the second part of the series, will
continue the exploration of diversity through young adult fiction.

Where: UVa’s Culbreth Theatre in Charlottesville, VA

When: Thursday, March 17 at 8:00 PM

Who: Authors Sara Farizan (Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel), Lamar Giles (Endangered), Meg Medina (Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass), and Wendy Shang (The Way Home Looks Now) will share their stories featuring diverse cultural identities among Americans.

Later in 2016, VFH will convene a series of six book and film discussion programs in partnership with organizations in communities across the state, including Arlington, the Eastern Shore, Harrisonburg, Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Richmond, and Roanoke. These free public programs will explore the history and impact of immigration on Virginia and each respective locality, inviting a wide range of participants to take part in the dialogue. Additional details will be made available at

The project will conclude with the publication and distribution by VFH of a Teacher’s Guide on Latin American Immigration, designed for use in middle and high school classrooms in Virginia and throughout the United States. The publication will help teachers and students better understand the history of Latin American immigration, the immigrant experience, and the challenges and opportunities presented by immigration.