Evelyne Accad is professor emerita in French, Comparative Literature, African Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and the Honors Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign. In stating why she wanted to create this award, Professor Accad writes, “Because of my personal journey, I am very aware of the importance of offering scholarships to students who could not afford to study and conduct research at a university; and given the condition of women in the Middle East and North Africa, I am also very aware of the need for opportunities to do research on women living in that area of the world. It is probably one of the most explosive areas in the world today geographically, religiously and politically. It is also the place where women pay the highest price as victims of the terrible conflicts afflicting the region both in their personal and public lives.”
Paul Vieille was a scholar, author, and teacher whose career spanned more than 60 years. From 1975 to 1988, he served as research director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France and from 1988 to 2003, he was a professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Paul considered himself both a sociologist and an anthropologist; by his own admission, he became deeply involved in the plight of the people in the south of France, Iran, and throughout the Mediterranean region. A common thread running through Paul's work was his deep desire for justice for the working class, the poor, and the oppressed. Paul is best known for creating the journal Peuples Méditerranéens, which he edited from 1977 to 1997.