The work and achievements of Ann Webster Smith as a champion in building a global culture of protection for the cultural heritage of the entire world were prolific and varied. For three decades Ms Smith was at the very core of the dreamers and doers who nurtured ICOMOS to its maturity, personifying a spirit of cooperation and teamwork. A true visionary never fearing change for the sake of improvement, Ann Webster Smith conceptualized, supported and enabled numerous cultural programs for international cooperation; influenced major decision-makers both in the United States and overseas towards the preservation ethic; steered private and public funds for the support of international preservation initiatives; and mentored dozens of young preservationists into their full professional capacity, gently leading them into key leadership positions.
The Ann Webster Smith Award honors an American individual, group of persons or institution, in the public or private sector, for extraordinary and sustained achievement in perpetuating Ann Webster Smith’s quest to make the United States a respected and trustworthy pillar to support the conservation of the cultural heritage in all parts of the world. The program was advertised on the US/ICOMOS website and through email distribution during Fall 2007 with nominations due February 15, 2008. The selection of the award winner was made by a panel of five individuals, composed of recognized American preservationists and representatives of the Ann Webster Smith family. The first annual Ann Webster Smith Award was presented the morning of Wednesday, May 29, 2008, during the opening plenary of the 11th US/ICOMOS International Symposium in Washington, DC.
Lisa Ackerman Recipient, First Annual Ann Webster Smith Award
In her sequential roles at the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Ms. Ackerman helped obtain support for many of the US/ICOMOS annual symposia, support that in some cases allowed us to allocate considerable other resources to bring young professionals from all over the world to attend those meetings and present their work. Similarly, the Summer Intern Program (now referred to as the International Exchange Program), could not have survived, to say nothing of thrived, without the unwavering support of Ms. Ackerman in her roles at the Kress Foundation. Over 600 young and mid-career professionals from more than 70 countries have benefited directly from Ms. Ackerman’s interest in both the program and in many of them individually. It is not an exaggeration to say that Lisa’s work through US/ICOMOS has propelled hundreds of young aspirants into the world of heritage preservation.
Ms. Ackerman’s sustained achievements in the field of cultural heritage continue as she recently assumed a new position with the World Monuments Fund. It culminates a career molded and refined at Middlebury College, New York University and the Pratt Institute; a career that has, in turn, influenced, molded and refined countless other students of the arts as well as professionals at the Museum of Modern Art, The Lincoln Center Institute, Columbia University, The New York Preservation Archive, The Historic House Trust of New York and, of course, the United States Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites.