Samaa Abdurraqib named MHC Executive Director

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After a nationwide search, Samaa Abdurraqib has been named the MHC's fourth executive director

Samaa Abdurraqib, MHC Executive Director

The Maine Humanities Council (MHC), a statewide non-profit organization and Maine’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), announced today that Samaa Abdurraqib, PhD, has been named the organization’s newest executive director. Abdurraqib previously served as the MHC’s associate director and acting executive director. She is preceded in the role by Hayden Anderson.  

“After a national search we arrived here at home,” said MHC Board Chair Mazie Hough. “We’re delighted to appoint Samaa Abdurraqib as our new executive director. Samaa has a deep and intimate knowledge of our mission and her connections with organizations and communities all over Maine promise to take us in a new and exciting direction as we work to make the humanities accessible to an ever-widening circle of people across the state.” 

Having received her PhD in English at the University of Wisconsin, Abdurraqib moved to Maine in 2010 to accept a visiting assistant professorship in the Gender & Women’s Studies Department at Bowdoin College. In 2013 she began working as a reproductive freedom organizer at the ACLU of Maine and later as a program coordinator for the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. After working as a contracted facilitator with the MHC for six years, she was hired as the organization’s associate director in March 2021. Abdurraqib has served on the boards of several nonprofits, including the Mabel Wadsworth Center, Survivor Speak USA, and Maine Inside Out. She has also worked for several Maine nonprofits as a contract consultant, leadership coach, and facilitator.  

“Serving as the MHC’s newest executive director is an honor and a privilege that I’m beyond excited to step into,” said Abdurraqib. “I am deeply committed to what’s at the heart of the MHC’s work: using books, poetry, and big ideas to bring people and communities together. I’m looking forward to working with the vibrant and passionate people on staff to further the MHC’s goal of providing robust programming and grants to all Maine people, particularly those who have historically been marginalized within the humanities.”  

 Abdurraqib adds, “Taking on this leadership position at the MHC is very meaningful to me. I grew up surrounded by books and my love of literature has shaped my life and my work in pivotal ways. Finding myself back in a place where I am again surrounded by books and big ideas feels like a homecoming.”  

 

About Maine Humanities Council: 

The Maine Humanities Council (MHC), a statewide non-profit organization, uses books, poetry, and big ideas to bring people together to discuss issues of importance and create positive change in Maine communities. Their programs and grants encourage critical thinking and conversations across social, economic, and cultural boundaries. The MHC is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is the home of Maine’s Center for the Book through the Library of Congress.