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Coachella Valley Projects Win Praise

UC Riverside Anthropologist Earns Kudos for Work in Coachella Valley

The American Anthropology Association Awards Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez the Textor Prize

(September 16, 2004)

Carlos Vélez-IbáñezEnlarge

Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- The American Anthropology Association has recognized a University of California, Riverside Professor of Anthropology, Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez, for his work to analyze the issues faced by human populations in need, and to improve their future.

Vélez-Ibáñez will receive the Robert B Textor and Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology at the November meeting of the Association, the largest anthropology association in the world. The meeting will be held in San Francisco.

The award recognizes scholarship in applied social science that anticipates a future need. Vélez-Ibáñez is a professor of anthropology and the director of the UC Riverside Ernesto Galarza Applied Research Center. Current projects at the center include the “Capacity Building for the Future” and “Ecological Health for the Future,” community-based projects in low-income communities in Southern California’s Coachella Valley, including Mecca, Thermal and Oasis. Both projects engage community members themselves to help analyze living conditions and develop solutions.

“It’s highly likely that these projects will have a role in creating paths to train more graduate students in the field,” said Vélez-Ibáñez. “We are training 35 high school kids right now in environmental home health research who may be the future in that community, as well as future students at UCR.”

Vélez-Ibáñez said he was grateful and honored for the recognition of his work with the Galarza Center and earlier work in the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at the University of Arizona, where he served as director for 10 years. The Textor Prize follows on the heels of last year’s Bronislaw Malinowski Award, given by the Society for Applied Anthropology.

Thomas Patterson, a distinguished professor of anthropology and the chair of the UCR Anthropology Department, nominated Vélez-Ibáñez for the Textor Prize.

“What is impressive about his work is his anticipation of problems and his commitment to working out solutions with community members,” said Patterson. “He has seen the problem, has carried out relevant research, and has helped to set in motion a course of action and research that will empower the poor communities of Coachella and that will hopefully ameliorate the problems and conditions they confront in their everyday lives.”

The Robert B Textor and Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology was established in 1998 to reward excellent contributions in the use of anthropological perspectives, theories, models and methods that improve a community’s chance for a better future.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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