Dear Friends of CAORC:
After 18 years of unmatched service, Maria ‘Ria’ deJ. Ellis is retiring as Executive Director of the American Institute of Yemeni Studies (AIYS).
Ria has served in her capacity as Executive Director since 1994, when a grant from the Department of Education allowed for the creation of an administrative structure for AIYS. As Executive Director, she oversaw the opening of the Center’s new location in Sana’a, a major reconstruction project at the medieval Amiriya madrasa in Rada’, supported numerous fellowships for US and Yemeni scholars and students and intensive Arabic language study programs in Yemen, and facilitated archaeological, anthropological and media projects inside and outside Yemen’s borders. She also oversaw the State-Department-sponsored Critical Language Scholarship Program in Yemen.
In addition to her critical support of the research center in Yemen, Ria played an integral role in the management of CAORC’s Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access grant from the Department of Education (TICFIA). Under the auspices of this program, CAORC and AIYS launched the Digital Library of International Research (DLIR) to catalog and digitize photographic, ethnographic, archaeological, cartographic, and other scholarly research support materials from a variety of international locations. Under Ria’s leadership, DLIR has expanded to offer more than 265,000 catalogued materials from 13 AORC libraries.
We will forever be grateful for Ria’s years of dedicated service to AIYS and the larger CAORC network, and we wish her every happiness in retirement.
Dr. Mary Ellen Lane
CAORC Executive Director