Board Member

Lanisa Kitchiner

Chief, African and Middle Eastern division, U.S. Library of Congress

Lanisa Kitchiner is the chief of the African and Middle Eastern division of the Library of Congress. She brings more than 18 years’ experience as an administrator of cultural institutions and an academic mobilizing knowledge around Africa’s cultural and historical ties to the Middle East. Kitchiner most recently served as director of education and scholarly initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art (2014-2020), where she oversaw new initiatives in scholarly research, educational programming, and audience outreach. She led the revitalization of the distance learning programs at the museum with new technologies and online digital collections, including the National Museum of African Art’s first online exhibition, “Sailors and Daughters: Early Photography and the Indian Ocean.” Previously, Kitchiner was associate director for programs of the Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University (2002-2014), where she engaged the academic community through programs with the Middle East Institute and the African Diplomatic Corps, among others. She began her career in diplomacy, serving in roles with the U.S. Department of State. Kitchiner holds a doctorate in African studies and research from Howard University. An active member of the Modern Language Association, she was elected to a four-year term as an executive board member (2012-2016). Kitchiner has taught courses at Howard University and American University in Washington, DC, is active in popular and academic scholarship, and has offered lectures to cultural institutions in more than 40 countries.