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Mary Ellen Lane, 1946–2019

Mary Ellen Lane

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Mary Ellen Lane, the heart and soul of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC). Mary Ellen died on November 3, 2019, after an extended illness surrounded by her husband Colin Davies and daughter Julia.

In 1986, Mary Ellen became the Executive Director of CAORC. Before that time, CAORC was an unknown part-time organization that loosely coordinated the activities of a dozen American Overseas Research Centers that supported U.S. and international scholars doing work in the social sciences and humanities. Under the dynamic leadership of Mary Ellen, CAORC became a leading organization in the field of international scholarship. She helped to secure support for existing centers and worked to establish centers in areas of the world where infrastructure was lacking to support research exchange. She worked with American and host-country scholars and officials to found new centers in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iraq, Mexico, Mongolia, Palestine, Senegal, the South Caucasus, and Sri Lanka. By the time she retired from CAORC after 28 years in 2014, the number of centers had grown to twenty-three doing work in twenty-seven countries.

Read our full tribute to Mary Ellen here:


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