The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) announced on Wednesday, September 12 that Smithsonian Director of Special Projects Halle Butvin will make a special presentation on the 2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival which featured “Armenia: Creating Home”, during the National Advocacy Conference luncheon in Washington, D.C. on September 24.
Butvin played a critically important role in the Festival’s remarkable success this summer on the National Mall, which the Assembly was proud to co-sponsor. She will provide an overview of the project highlighting the many facets that were needed to bring it all together, as well as her experiences in helping to make this year’s Folklife Festival possible.
“We recognized very quickly that the resiliency of the Armenian people and the ability to sustain its culture and tradition against great odds was something that we really wanted to feature,” Butvin told the Assembly.
“Director of Special Projects Halle Butvin was involved in this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival from day one, and knew from the very beginning of this process in 2014 that featuring Armenia was going to be truly special. We look forward to hearing her remarks and insights about this historic Festival that brought Armenian culture and tradition to our nation’s capital,” stated Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.
The 2018 Folklife Festival showcased Armenia and its culture, art, music, food, wine, and history through narratives, demonstrations, and workshops that touched on many aspects of Armenian life, and is considered the most attended in recent years. Butvin, who travelled to Armenia numerous times, was one of the curators of the Festival.
At the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, she is responsible for expanding the reach of cultural sustainability work around the world, designing collaborative projects to support communities, safeguard their heritage, promote cultural expression, and elevate cultural practices to improve local economies. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Butvin spent ten years designing and implementing impact-driven international development programs in East Africa and Asia, ranging from democracy and governance to biodiversity conservation and economic growth.
In addition to the luncheon, the National Advocacy Conference and Gala, includes panel discussions, a welcome reception, meetings on Capitol Hill, and concludes with a special evening Gala honoring long-time Assembly Board Member Annie Simonian Totah.