International Resource Network: An Update

I am pleased to introduce myself as the new project coordinator of the International Resource
Network. I am very excited to be part of a project that aims to forge alliances between
scholars who are often marginalized within their own academic circles, empowers regional
actors to address the specialized needs of those in their own communities, and promotes transnational
queer projects with a great degree of cultural sensitivity and understanding.
Nomvuyo Nolutshungu, who performed the critical task of getting the IRN off the ground,
has moved on from the project, but continues to offer invaluable support to me personally and
the project in general. I want to take this opportunity to thank her for all of her contributions
to the IRN.
As the new IRN project coordinator, I am working to: 1) increase IRN membership by strategizing new methods for IRN
advertisement and outreach, 2) improve IRN website functionality and usability, 3) facilitate collaboration and growth in
existing regions, 4) facilitate the launch of IRN-Middle East, 5) locate funding opportunities to support the work of IRN-North
America/Europe. I welcome your input in any of these areas!
Here’s a brief update on IRN happenings:
• IRN has continued to blossom since the springtime website launch of the project. Thanks to the hard work of Nomvuyo,
Nazia Kazi, the outgoing development director, Alyssa Nitchun, the new development director, and Barbara Klugman, our very
supportive contact at the Ford Foundation, a second generous three-year Ford Foundation grant in the amount of $300,000 has
been approved for IRN and will go into effect in January 2009. This grant will facilitate increased growth within the Africa and
Latin America/Caribbean regions, as well as additional funding for Asia and Middle East regions.
• In September 2008, IRN-North America representative Mark Blasius met with Nick Mulè from York University in Canada
about possible collaboration and next steps for IRN-North America. Mark and Nick discussed possibilities for website collaboration
and conferences, but their plans and ideas require funding to materialize. Mark, Alyssa, and I continue to explore options
for IRN-N.America and Europe funding.