The James E. Alatis 

Founder’s Award


Named for the late Dr. James E. Alatis, a founding member of the JNCL-NCLIS, as well as a number of other professional language associations, the James E. Alatis Founder’s Award is bestowed on an occasional basis during Language Advocacy Day to honor exceptional and life-long contributions to the advancement of language and international education, research and development and practice.

The Inspiration

Dr. James "Jim" Alatis was a founding member of TESOL and its first executive director. He also enjoyed a distinguished career at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, for over four decades, where he was Dean Emeritus at the School of Languages and Linguistics; Distinguished Professor of linguistics and Modern Greek; senior advisor to the dean of the Georgetown College for International Language Programs and Research; and director of the university’s master’s in TESOL program. Over the course of his career, Dr. Alatis also published numerous articles and books, served as an editor to prestigious journals in the field, and presented at conferences all over the world. He earned numerous awards as well.


Dr. James E. Alatis

In order to submit a nomination for the Founder's Award, the nominating party must:

  1. Be a member of a JNCL-NCLIS member organization that is in good financial standing;

  2. Complete the online application requirements (see below);

  3. Submit only one nomination. Only one nomination per member organization may be submitted. 

Selection Criteria

Nominations will be considered based on the following areas:

  • Lifetime achievement in the area of language education, research and development, training, business or related area in the promotion of the Language Enterprise.

Selection Process

  • The nomination period will open the first week of August and closes in mid-September (see below for exact dates).

  • The selection process will be conducted by the Awards Committee, whose Chair is selected each year by the President of the Board of Directors. Per the Bylaws, the committee will be composed of three Board Members, excluding the President, and two JNCL staff members. The committee will review all nominations submitted prior to the stated deadline and select a recipient that best fulfills the award criteria.

  • The Awards Committee in consultation with staff will then select a group of finalists from which the Board of Directors will select one recipient.

  • The selection process will take place from mid-Sept. to early-Oct.

The Award includes...

The sponsored award will include:

  1. An award plaque, with an inscription of the awardee’s name and his or her affiliation, will be awarded in person (preferably at the annual Language Links Reception, held Thursday evening during Language Advocacy Day);

  2. Complimentary registration to Language Advocacy Day and the Thursday evening reception Language Links;

  3. A spotlight profile on the JNCL-NCLIS website with photo linking to the member organization’s website.

Application Deadline for the 2020 Award:

COB Friday, September 20, 2019

Please plan accordingly.

past recipients

  • 2019 – Martha G. Abbott, ACTFL 

  • 2014 – Representative David Price (D-NC)