Oral history interview with Hillary S. Wiesner, 2012


Wiesner, Hillary Suzanne (Interviewee)
Gavrilis, George (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Hillary S. Wiesner, 2012
Undergraduate studies: 1985 B.A. in religion from Harvard University, participation in Sardis Expedition in western Turkey; Ph.D in religion and discussion of historical conversation and commonalities between religions; discussion of work for UNESCO in France beginning 1993: departure from academic roots, dissatisfaction with work environment; meeting with Vartan Gregorian in 2006; critique of "cla sh of civilizations" concept; influence of family's mixed religious background on studies; study of classical languages; hiring and transition to UNESCO; experience living in Jerusalem in early 1990s; transition to Carnegie Corporation as director of Islam Initiative: intellectual stimulus, busy social atmosphere, development of program to support young Muslim Americans in the arts; first year of grantmaking: need for expanded knowledge of Islam in America, memorable funded and unfunded projects; discussion of "Islamophobia": complications for Carnegie Corporation; influence of Iraq and Afghan wars: experience at UNESCO, current Carnegie grants, scholarship of Vartan Gregorian; expansion of Islam Initiative focus from domestic issues to international affairs; impressions of Vartan Gregorian; relationship between Carnegie Corporation and Library of Alexandria: grants and projects, effects of 2011 Egyptian revolution; discussion of funding decisions and projects funded; involvement with Carnegie Scholars program; reminiscences of high points in philanthropy career; public presence of Carnegie grantees; discussion of 2011 Arab Awakening: personal impressions, resulting developments in Carnegie programming; predictions for future Carnegie initiatives; sense of accomplishment through Islam Initiative.
Collection Name
Carnegie Corporation project. Part 3
Religious educators; Islam; Charitable uses, trusts, and foundations--Political activity; Endowments; Gregorian, Vartan; Wiesner, Hillary Suzanne; Carnegie Corporation of New York
oral histories
Physical Description
78 pages. + index; 1 digital audio file (77 min.); 1 digital video file (85 min.)
Note (Biographical)
Director, Islam Initiative, Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Interviewed by George Gavrilis on April 11, 2012.
Note (Provenance)
Gift of Hillary S. Wiesner
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
Browse Location’s Digital Content
Catalog Record
Also In
Carnegie Corporation of New York Digital Archive
Persistent URL
Related URLs
Available digital content for this interview.