The Mediterranean Studies Association originated in 1988 as a Journal and was officially incorporated in 1994. In the following 26 years the MSA has grown into a prominent academic organization known for its commitment to interdisciplinary and international learning and research focused on the Mediterranean Region. These achievements could only have been realized through the contributions of endless hours of volunteer service from its members. It became apparent to the MSA leadership that the organization needed some form of recognition to honor those individuals who had rendered extraordinary service. The result was the creation in 2007 of the MSA Fellows Service Award that was first granted to Francis Dutra in Évora, Portugal in 2007. Since the inauguration of that award, eight individuals have been so recognized. The growth from its humble origins into an organization with thousands of members worldwide is to a large degree the result of the generous support of these MSA Fellows.
Frances A Durta 2007 Évora, Portugal
Professor Frances Dutra was the catalyst for creating the MSA Fellows Service Award. He was a constant presence from the first MSA Congress in 1998 until serious health issues prevented his participation after 2009. He presented his own research, organized full panels and chaired sessions every year. A specialist in medieval, early modern Portugal, and colonial Brazilian history, he encouraged numerous Portuguese and Brazilian scholars to attend the Annual Congress and present their research. To further promote their scholarship, Frank devoted hundreds of hours to helping Portuguese/Brazilian scholars revise their articles so they would be eligible for publication in Mediterranean Studies. The loss of Professor Dutra was a great blow to the MSA but the enduring contributions he made to the organization from 1998 to 2009 are monumental.
Geraldo Sousa 2008 Lüneburg, Germany
Geraldo U. de Sousa is Professor of English at the University of Kansas. He has attended all of the International Congresses of the MSA, except the first. He served as editor of Mediterranean Studies for ten years and has published on Luso-Brazilian, Mediterranean, and Global Studies. He edited a special issue of the Mediterranean Studies journal, titled Shakespeare’s Mediterranean (2018). Since stepping down as Editor, Geraldo has served on the Editorial Board of Mediterranean Studies. For many years he also helped organize the international congress of the Mediterranean Studies Association, and served as Deputy Executive Director of the MSA and chair of the program committee. He and David Bergeron were instrumental in helping organize the 2000 MSA Congress in Brazil. In 2020, he was appointed to the Advisory Board of the MSA. His service to the Mediterranean Studies Association has been extensive over the years in various official capacities and in informal supporting roles. He loves the Mediterranean Studies Association, and remains one of its staunchest advocates.
Ángel Felices Lago 2008 Lüneburg, Germany
Angel Felices is currently full professor at the University of Granada (Spain). He was the coordinator of the first Conference of MSA in Spain, which was hosted by the University of Granada in 2002. Since then, he has been acting as the liaison for all the MSA Conferences in Spain, playing a leading role as a facilitator for the congresses in Barcelona (2004), Salamanca (2010), Marbella-Málaga (2014), and is also taking the necessary steps to offer the future congress in Valencia (2024). Angel was a co-editor 2002 -2004 and a member of the Editorial Board of Mediterranean Studies from 2012— 2020.
Guy Mermier 2010 Salamanca, Spain
The late Guy Mermier was a seminal figure in the early history of the MSA. He became a co-editor of Mediterranean Studies during a very critical time from 1996-2002. He also performed a critical role in organizing the 2001 MSA Congress in Aix-en-Provence. Through Guy’s efforts the MSA obtained the sponsorship of the prestigious La Maison méditerranéenne des Sciences de l'homme in Aix-en-Provence to host the 4th Annual Congress. Possibly his most lasting legacy to the MSA was the introduction of optional educational travel as an important component of the Annual Congress. He organized the first MSA travel activity that took a large group of Congress participants to Pont du Gard and Arles before the 2001 Aix Congress.
Richard W. Clement 2011 Corfu, Greece
Richard Clement was one of the two founders of the Mediterranean Studies Association. Though names of various co-editors appear on the early volumes of Mediterranean Studies, Rick, for the most part, single-handedly edited the first ten volumes from 1988 - 2002. After Geraldo Sousa took over the primary editorial responsibilities Rick continued to serve as Senior Editor preparing the camera-ready copy of the Journal for publication until 2010. During this time, he created the MSA website, managed the extensive paperwork when we incorporated the MSA in 1994, and 501 (C) (3) tax exempt status for the MSA. He also performed many other time-consuming tasks including the preparation of the program for the Annual Congress. After twenty-two years of meritorious service, Clement resigned from the MSA in 2010 to pursue a career in academic administration.
David Bergeron 2012 Pula, Croatia
David M. Bergeron is Professor Emeritus of English, University of Kansas. David has attended all of the MSA international congresses, except the first one. He has been on all of the post tours, except one. He has presented papers at every MSA conference that he has attended. Some of these papers led to published articles. In the 2009 conference in Sardinia, two sessions were presented in his honor. David has actively recruited friends and colleagues to attend MSA conferences; as for example, at the Sorrento meeting (2018), at least thirteen people with Kansas connections participated. David was active in the planning of the congress in Salvador, Brazil (2000). Indeed, he was the one who suggested Salvador as a site for the meeting. Through contacts in Brazil, with Geraldo Sousa’s help, he assisted in making the arrangements there. He also helped create the program and served several years thereafter on the program committee. David also spent several years on the Editorial Board of Mediterranean Studies. In a word, he has devoted considerable effort to the success of the MSA. Attending and participating in the MSA annual congresses has become a favorite professional and personal activity.
Susan L. Rosenstreich 2019 Rethymnon, Greece
From the outset, my goal as a member of the MSA has been to contribute to the organization’s resources for collegial exchanges of interdisciplinary scholarship. I found avenues to this goal early in the life of the MSA, presenting papers and chairing panels that shaped our expectations for cross-disciplinary conversation at annual congresses. Subsequently, as a member of the Editorial Board of Mediterranean Studies, I quickly came to understand and to support the value of the journal in creating opportunities for scholars to articulate innovative conceptions of topics relevant to the Mediterranean region and its influence. When I was named editor of the journal’s special issue on the Mediterranean voyage, I chose to emphasize the evolving interdisciplinary nature of the field of Mediterranean studies as a voyage of discovery in its own right. I am now happily serving as editor of Mediterranean Studies, confident that the work of my predecessors has put the MSA on solid ground to pursue the goal I want to serve.
Susan O. Shapiro 2019 Rethymnon, Greece
The first MSA meeting I attended was the memorable 2005 meeting in Messina, Sicily, and I have participated in almost every conference since then. The open-ended scholarly conversations and the warm friendships that develop from them, and the varied Mediterranean venues, are what make the MSA conferences so special. As editor of Mediterranean Studies from 2011-2018, I administered the transition required by our new publisher, the Penn State University Press, from the traditional annual hardcover volume to two paperback editions accompanied by an electronic online version. I opened the journal to a wider range of articles and encouraged greater participation by the members of the MSA. By expanding the time-period of the articles, instituting annual meetings of the editorial board, and inaugurating special issues, I tried to make Mediterranean Studies a more accurate reflection of the interdisciplinary nature of the MSA. Now as ex-editor, I am excited to see the new directions in which the current editor, Susan L. Rosenstreich, will take the journal.