Pertti J. Pelto International Award

The Pertti J. Pelto Award - A Silhouette of a Reindeer and a banner reading "Reindeer Herder Society"

In the fall of 2012, some of Pertti "Bert" Pelto's former students and colleagues initiated a conversation about the most appropriate way to honor their former teacher and mentor. The group quickly agreed that an appropriate tribute would be to establish a travel scholarship for an international scholar or practitioner to visit the US and interact with like-minded social scientists, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology. This idea grew out of the recognition of Bert's lifelong interest in developing and nurturing scholarly networks on a cross-national basis. Recognizing the hardships of travel durring the COVID pandemic the award was changed from a travel award.
As part of the SfAA’s international initiative, the Pelto International Award intends to strengthen and expand relationships between the SfAA and countries outside the United States, where the SfAA is headquartered.  The award seeks to support the development of applied social science abroad, specifically in the awardee’s home country. 
The award provides financial and networking support to a mid-career international scholar or practitioner in three distinct ways: (1) Funding of US $1,500 to support applied anthropology activities in the awardee’s country; (2) Three years of membership in the SfAA; and (3) Three years of registration at the SfAA annual meetings.

Award Selection Criteria

Award Selection Criteria

Citizenship or permanent residence in low- and mid-income countries

  • A master's degree or higher in an applied social science 

  • Affiliation with an educational institution, government agency, or community-based organization in the awardee’s home country

  • Demonstration of innovative applications of social science theory and methods to address social problems

  • Evidence of engagement with grassroots programs, organizations, or other entities that build community capacity necessary to understand and address social inequities

  • Demonstration of involvement in capacity building for applied social science in the awardee’s home country 



Each nomination should include:

  • A letter of nomination from an SfAA member 

  • A supporting letter from an SfAA member or from an applied social scientist in the nominee’s home country

  • An application from the nominee including the following items: 

  1. Name; address, telephone number(s), email address; Resume and/or Curriculum Vitae; name and address of nominee’s institution 

  2. A proposal on the applied social science activities to be undertaken with the funding 

  3. A statement on how the award will advance the application of social science in the nominee’s country

  4. An agreement to deliver a presentation on the state of applied anthropology in the nominee’s country during a panel session at the SfAA annual meetings 

  5. An agreement to serve in the Pelto Committee for the award year, and two additional consecutive years.      

Nomination Deadline: October 31, 2024 

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Previous Recipients


Ilionor LOUIS, Ph.D.


Ilionor Louis travaille sur les inégalités sociales en lien avec la discrimination dans le logement et dans l’éducation. Il a été membre du Groupe de Recherche sur le Logement populaire et l’inclusion sociale (GTHI) de la Faculté Latino-Américaine des sciences sociales (FLACSO) de Quito (Équateur), et également membre du Groupe de travail sur les politiques éducatives et les inégalités en Amérique Latine du Conseil Latino-Américain des Sciences Sociales (CLACSO). Comme Sociologue, il a une formation multidisciplinaire avec un diplôme en Philosophie et une licence en Service social à l’Université d’État d’Haïti, une Maîtrise en Sciences sociales de la Faculté Latino-Américaine des sciences sociales (Mexico) et un doctorat en sociologie de l’Université de Montréal. Ses recherches portent sur les luttes pour la reconnaissances des populations marginalisées, les ONG, la marchandisation de l’éducation en lien avec les inégalités sociales.

Ilionor Louis works on social inequalities linked to discrimination in housing and education. He was a member of the Research Group on Popular Housing and Social Inclusion (GTHI) of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Quito (Ecuador), and also a member of the Working Group on Educational Policies and inequalities in Latin America from the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO). As a sociologist, he has a multidisciplinary training with a degree in Philosophy and a degree in Social Service from the State University of Haiti, a Master's degree in Social Sciences from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (Mexico) and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Montreal. His research focuses on struggles for the recognition of marginalized populations, NGOs, and the commodification of education in connection with social inequalities.


Prof. AKM Mazharul Islam. - Bangladesh

Islam.jpegCurrently, a Professor of Anthropology at Shahjlalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh and the Executive Director of Institute of Applied Anthropology, Dhaka, Bangladesh (In a volunteered capacity), Professor AKM Mazharul Islam is educated in Cumilla Cadet College, University of Dhaka, Minnesota State University, and Johns Hopkins University. He has been a Chair of Anthropology at SUST for 12 years in different period of times. He has been also teaching in Dhaka University, BRAC University, North South University, Independent University, Bangladesh, Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP), Mahidol University (Thailand) and Minnesota State University (USA). His teaching includes applied anthropology, medical anthropology, public health, and research methodology. He has been working in a multidisciplinary team with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in formulating a formative research protocol, which is being implemented in 18 countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He worked as a Principal and Co-Principal Investigator in a good number of national and international projects funded and administered by Government of Bangladesh, European Union, USAID, WHO, Unicef, Save the Children, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, University of Glasgow, SUST, UNDP, BRAC, and ICDDR, B. He published a good number of research articles in national and international journals and published a couple of books and book chapters. He participated, presented, discussed, and chaired in many international conferences and workshops arranged by American Anthropological Association, Society for Applied Anthropology, Society of Medical Anthropology, University of Sussex, Maastricht University, Amsterdam University, University of Heidelberg, Mahidol University, University of Delhi, University of Hyderabad etc. In Bangladesh, he offers regular lectures, seminars, and workshops to Inter Service Selection Borad (ISSB), Bangladesh Civil Service Training Academy, Bangladesh Planning Academy, Bangladesh Rural Development Academy, Bangladesh Local Government Training Academy, and Bangladesh Law Academy and a disciplinary expert of the selection board for the teachers’ recruitment board of different universities in Bangladesh. He is a member of American Anthropological Association, Society for Applied Anthropology, Society of Medical Anthropology, USA and Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. He received Pelto International Award 2023 by the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA), USA for his outstanding contribution in the field of applied anthropology.


Isaac K. Nyamongo - Kenya

Nyamongo-Pelto 2022.pngIsaac K. Nyamongo is a Professor of Anthropology. He currently serves as the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Cooperative Development, Research and Innovation) at the Cooperative University of Kenya. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Florida, USA and has close to 30 years in teaching, research and consultancy. He has supervised and mentored more than 40 students both at Doctoral and Masters levels. Prof. Nyamongo has held research and training grants from many organizations including the European Union, World Health Organization, International Development Research Center, Wenner Gren Foundation, and Toyota Foundation among others. His research and training experience spans several countries within the Africa region including Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea and has mainly focus on social issues in malaria. Prof. Nyamongo has more than 60 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals. In addition, he has published books and book chapters. Further, he has held visiting Professor positions in the US as a Fulbright Scholar (2009-2010) and in South Africa where he was a Carnegie Mellon Fellow (2012).


Diego Díaz Córdova - Argentina

Picture1.pngDiego Díaz Córdova holds a PhD in Anthropology Sciences, Universidad de Buenos Aires and is Professor at Universidad de Lanús, Universidad de Buenos Aires y Universidad Museo Social Argentino. He is a researcher and software developer with interests in nutritional anthropology, anthropology of arts and methodology (social network analysis, simulation models, data science, ethnography and statistics).


Cynthia Pizarro - Argentina

2018 Pelto Travel Award Winner - Cynthia Pizarro from ArgentinaCynthia Pizarro has a Bachelor Degree in Social Anthropology – University of Buenos Aires; a Master Degree in Social Sciences – National University of Catamarca; and a Doctorate Degree in Anthropology  - University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She works as a professor at the School of Agriculture of the University of Buenos Aires and as a senior researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET). She is the director of the Master’s Program in Rural Development of the University of Buenos Aires. 

Her major interests are:

General: Social Anthropology, Sociology

Area: Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Latin American Nationals Abroad

Topical: Rural Studies, International Immigration, Identity Processes, Anthropology of Work, Political Ecology, Ethnographic Methods, Applied Anthropology 

She has published several chapters of books, many refereed papers in international scientific journals, and the following books: 

  • Bolivian Labor Immigrants` Experiences in Argentina, 2016, Maryland, Lexington Books. 

  • Bolivianos y bolivianas en la vida cotidiana cordobesa: Trabajo, derechos e identidad en contextos migratorios (Bolivian Men and Women in Every Day Life in Córdoba: Work, Rights and Identity in Migratory Contexts), 2015, Córdoba, Argentina, Universidad Católica de Córdoba. 

  • “Ser Boliviano” en la Región Metropolitana de la Ciudad de Cordoba. Localización Socio-espacial, Mercado de Trabajo y Relaciones Interculturales. (“Being a Bolivian” in the Metropolitan Region of Cordoba City. Socio-Spatial Location, Labor Market and Intercultural Relations), 2011, Cordoba, Argentina, Universidad Católica de Córdoba,

  • Migraciones Internacionales Contemporáneas: Estudios para el Debate (Current International Migrations: Studies for Debate), 2011, Buenos Aires, Argentina, CiCCUS.  

  • Ahora ya somos Civilizados. La Invisibilidad de la Identidad Indígena en un Área Rural del Valle de Catamarca.  (“We are Now Civilized”. Invisibility of Indigenous Identity in a Rural Area of Catamarca Valley), 2006, Córdoba, Argentina, Universidad Católica de Córdoba. 

  • La Política Cultural de las Movilizaciones Campesinas. Las Narrativas sobre un Conflicto por la Tierra en una Localidad Rural de Catamarca. (Cultural Politics of Peasant Struggles. Narratives about a Land Conflict in a Rural Area of Catamarca), 2001, Catamarca, Argentina, Universidad Nacional de Catamarca.

She founded the Network of Argentine Researchers on Contemporary International Migrations in 2009, which she has coordinated until 2015 and has participated as a member since then. She has organized several Meetings, Workshops, Round Tables and Sessions which gathered colleagues from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Ecuador, Mexico, USA, England, Spain, Italy, Germany, China and the Russian Federation.

She has done long lasting ethnographic fieldwork in rural areas of Argentina, where she got involved with local people and joined their struggles. She has done collective activities together with her informants such as participatory mapping, oral history workshops, photo exhibitions and documentary films.

She has trained under-graduate and graduate students in ethnographic technics and has led her research teams to apply scholarly expertise in order to encourage stake holders and local populations to understand, reflect on and problematize concrete social problems, as well as to imagine novel ways of addressing them in order to make a more inclusive and equal society. 


Patricia Jean Hammer - Peru

2016 Pelto Travel Award Winner - Patricia Jean Hammer from PeruAn applied medical anthropologist, Patricia J. Hammer, is dedicated to Community Participatory Action Research (CPAR) methodology as a composite of formative research instruments that strengthen community organization for engagements in movements to push policy and sustain viable articulations between Andean rural populations and government institutions. An international health consultant specialized in women, adolescent and community well being she develops, tests and implements strategies for government ministries of health, international NGOs such as CARE, Save the Children, Pathfinder, Doctors without Borders, as well as with locally based municipalities and organizations primarily in Peru and Bolivia.

Since the inauguration of the Masters Degree Program in Social Policy in 2004 at the state university of Huaraz, Peru, UNASAM (Universidad Nacional Santiago Antúnez de Mayolo) Dr. Hammer teaches and develops required curriculum and also serves as thesis advisor for her students, all of whom are Peruvian professionals responsible for the implementation of national social programs to build community capacity and alleviate poverty.

Patricia Hammer is founder of the civic association, Center for Social Well Being (CSW) in Carhuaz, Ancash, Peru that provides an interdisciplinary field training program for international graduate and undergraduate university students and professionals. The center is a fully sustainable organic ranch, run with solar and wind energy and a working model for local indigenous communities in pursuit of viable alternatives for autonomous development that include agrobiodiversity, particularly the protection of native seeds, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation. Her recent publication in ReVista Harvard Review of Latin America addresses her work. She is a social science writer for the regional Peruvian newspaper the Huaraz Telegraph in Ancash, Peru.  

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