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From the President: The Benefits of Membership Volume 59 Number 5, September/October 2006
by Jane C. Waldbaum

Why you should join the AIA

[image]A future archaeologist digs in at a children's fair during the AIA's 2006 Annual Meeting in Montreal. (Courtesy Glenda Chao) [LARGER IMAGE]

As president of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), I've had the pleasure of addressing you in each issue of this magazine on a variety of important topics. But what exactly is the AIA and why should you be a part of it?

The Institute is the oldest and largest nonprofit archaeological organization in North America. Founded in 1879 and chartered by Congress in 1906, it includes among its members professional archaeologists and people from all walks of life--people like you--all of whom share a passion for understanding the human past. From its origins in Boston, the AIA has expanded to encompass 102 local societies or chapters from Vancouver to New York and from Winnipeg to San Antonio, as well as one in Greece. The societies perform important outreach activities in their communities: They host archaeological lectures on the latest discoveries and organize activities such as museum visits, discussion groups, school programs, and much more. As an AIA member you may join the chapter nearest you and participate directly in these activities. You are also eligible for discounts on our publications and programs.

Beyond its benefits for individual members, the AIA serves a broader purpose. We support archaeological research, educate the public about archaeology, and advocate on behalf of the world's endangered archaeological resources. To promote new research we provide fellowships for young scholars, organize an Annual Meeting at which the results of the latest research are presented and discussed, and publish the highly respected, scholarly American Journal of Archaeology. To reach the public, we produce the outstanding ARCHAEOLOGY magazine that you hold in your hands and sponsor our distinguished international lecture series. Our other outreach programs include archaeological tours led by experts to all corners of the globe and lectures on Near Eastern archaeology to troops en route to Iraq and Afghanistan. Our new Education Department is busy preparing online materials for teachers and children and organizing teachers' workshops, programs for seniors in retirement communities, and archaeology fairs for children and their families. And those of you who have read this column in the past know that the AIA has been and continues to be a powerful voice against looting and the illicit trade in undocumented antiquities, and for the preservation of archaeological sites, monuments, and artifacts.

As a member of the AIA you have the satisfaction of being part of all that we do. Your tax-deductible membership contribution supports our mission and your voice, added to ours, keeps us strong. Join us!

For more information on the AIA and to join online please go to www.archaeological.org!

Jane C. Waldbaum is the president of the Archaeological Institute of America.

* See all letters from Jane C. Waldbaum and past president Nancy C. Wilkie.

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