(Washington, DC, January 7, 2009) The American Humanist Association is pleased to announce the recent election of David Niose, an attorney from Fitchburg, Massachusetts, as president. In addition to Niose’s new role, he will also serve as a member on the AHA board of directors.
Niose has been an advocate for secularism and humanism for years, having served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. He is a founding member of Greater Worcester Humanists and a board member of Greater Boston Humanists, both of which are Massachusetts chapters of the AHA. Niose has also served on the advisory panel of the Secular Coalition for America, a Washington lobbying group, and has served on the AHA board as treasurer since 2005. In these roles Niose has been involved in the implementation of numerous activities and programs, including legal disputes over televangelism, media outreach to raise awareness of humanism, and political advocacy efforts.
As AHA president, Niose hopes to help raise public awareness and acceptance of humanism, advancing the AHA’s agenda of encouraging rational public policy and reversing the deleterious influence of the religious right. “Secular government is an important principle of American democracy, but too often we see the wall of separation between church and state under attack,” Niose said.
“With the departure of the Bush administration, many Americans will no doubt feel that the danger of the religious right is fading, when in fact our society and government remain hostile to many aspects of secularism and humanism,” says Niose. “As such, this is certainly no time for complacency.”
Other elected AHA officers include Becky Hale of Colorado as vice president, Susan Sackett of Arizona as secretary, and Jason Torpy of New York as treasurer. The immediate past president of the AHA is Mel Lipman, an attorney from Florida.
The AHA was founded in 1941 and is headquartered in Washington, DC. The AHA’s honorary president, until his death in 2007, was author Kurt Vonnegut.
Each year since 1953 the AHA has presented its “Humanist of the Year” award to an important humanist activist or intellectual. The 2008 award was presented to Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA). Past recipients include Carl Sagan, Steven Pinker, Margaret Sanger, Ted Turner, Betty Friedan, John Kenneth Galbraith.
Elections of the officers were effective January 1, 2009.
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The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.