BOSTON — Road Scholar, the new name for the programs of education nonprofit Elderhostel, recently announced Sheila S. Walker as the 2010 Asa Grant Hilliard III Award for Lifelong Learning recipient. The award provides $5,000 toward a learning adventure offered by Road Scholar, and honors the late Dr. Asa Grant Hilliard III, world-renowned Pan-Africanist, educator, historian, psychologist and advocate for learning through travel. Kathy Taylor, associate vice president at Road Scholar, presented the award on behalf of Road Scholar and the Hilliard family during the National Alliance for Black School Educators (NABSE) Annual Conference recently held in Fort Worth, Texas.

Walker, a cultural anthropologist and filmmaker, is the executive director of Afrodiaspora, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that is developing a documentary series and educational materials about the global African Diaspora. In 2010 she co-produced a documentary, Slave Routes: A Global Vision} for the UNESCO Slave Route Project, and published the edited volume, Conocimiento desde adentro: Los afrosudamericanos hablan de sus pueblos y sus historias (Knowledge from the Inside: Afro-South Americans speak of their Communities and their Histories), in La Paz, Bolivia. She also edited the volume, African Roots/American Cultures: Africa in the Creation of the Americas, and produced the documentary film, Scattered Africa: Faces and Voices of the African Diaspora.

A longtime member of the Association for the study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Dr. Walker served as director of the Center for African and African American Studies, and was the Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor in the College of Liberal Arts, and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. More recently she was the William and Camille Cosby Professor in the Humanities and Social Sciences, professor of anthropology, and director of the African Diaspora and the World Program at Spelman College.

“Education and lifelong learning are crucial to African Americans,” said Walker in a press statement. “I am thrilled to receive the Road Scholar Hilliard Award. Researching African American culture and its historical and contemporary links has been and continues to be my life project. Participating in a Road Scholar program to an area where there are little-known Afro-descendant populations — such as the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Turkey — would give me an opportunity to research these populations in advance so as to learn more about them during the program. I look forward to developing lectures and documentaries about my experience and sharing my newfound knowledge with my community and with others.”