Committee on Public Policy

Committee on Public Policy

The Committee on Public Policy was established in 1998, on the recommendation of the Task Force on Public Policy. The Task Force was established in 1997 to review AAA's public policy efforts and chart future directions.

The Committee has both internal and external missions. It is staffed by the AAA Department of Government Affairs.

The Committee's internal mission is to develop public policy expertise and enhance public policy debate among anthropologists within the AAA. The Committee will do this through events such as public policy forums, sessions and workshops at the annual meeting as well as network building.

The Committee's external mission is to enhance the effectiveness of AAA and anthropologists in working with policy makers and other organizations, in order to strengthen the public profile of the AAA and anthropology. The Committee is also dedicated to educating policy makers on issues where anthropological expertise can be brought to bear.

Committee Charge

The primary charge of the Committee on Public Policy is to enhance the participation of AAA entities and members in the area of public policy and the visibility of contributions by anthropologists.

Duration of Committee:

Committee Reports to:
The Executive Board


  • To encourage sections and interest groups to develop policy-related activities that focus on particular areas of interest to their members, such as by interacting with section leadership and visiting business meetings, without infringing on the autonomy of these units;
  • To enhance communication and cooperation between sections, interest groups, other elected committees, task forces, the AAA Public Affairs Office, and other parts of the AAA on policy issues that cross-cut particular domains, thereby encouraging links among their individual efforts. A key mechanism for realizing this goal is working with sections, interest groups, task forces, other AAA committees, and the AAA staff in organizing events for the AAA Annual Meeting, such as policy forums, particularly those that highlight issues that cross-cut specific policy domains;
  • To enhance the visibility of anthropological contributions to public policy to audiences outside the AAA, including by creating opportunities for AAA members to enter into policy debates as well as to bring policy makers to AAA annual meetings and other sites in which they can interact with anthropologists;
  • To provide models for AAA members and units of effective participation in public policy, such as by placing examples of effective policy interventions on the COPP Web site and in contributions to Anthropology News and helping organize AAA sessions in which members reflect on their policy interventions and sponsor workshops and other events in which AAA members can gain relevant skills.
  • Also administers and awards bi-annual Anthropology in Public Policy Award.

Membership and Appointment:
Seven (7) members include the chair
3 year terms
4 members are elected by membership at-large
3 members are appointed by the AAA President on a staggered basis
Chair is elected by Committee members

Ex-officio members:

  • AAA President
  • AAA President-elect
  • One member of the Executive Board

Recommendations as appropriate to the Executive Board
Annual Report

Meetings and Schedule:
To be scheduled

Staff Liaison and contact information:
Jeff Martin, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, American Anthropological Association, 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 1301, Arlington, VA 22201, (o)703/528-1902, (f) 703/528-3546,

Review Date: May 2014
Review Body: AOC/Executive Board
Adopted: May 8, 2009

Committee Links
Additional Information & Resources