Founder and Director, Franco-American Women’s Institute
Rhea Côté Robbins was brought up bilingually in a Franco-American neighborhood in Waterville known as the South End. Côté Robbins is the author of creative nonfiction, memoirs titled, ‘down the Plains,’ and Wednesday’s Child, winner of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Chapbook Award.
She is editor of Canuck and Other Stories, an anthology of translations of early 20th century Franco-American women writers who wrote about their immigration experience. Her poems and essays have appeared in many publications. She is the founder and director of the Franco-American Women’s Institute, FAWI.
Paul Buck is a Professor of History and Education at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. He has a doctorate in U.S. and Canadian history from the University of Maine, which he completed in 2008. Paul is proficient in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, and Wolof.
He has either studied or taught over the course of four academic years in French Canada (Québec City), Russia (Voronezh), and Senegal (Dakar). Paul enjoys participating in his adopted community of St. Agatha, particularly in local organizations that promote and celebrate the French language and the Acadian and Franco-American culture of the St. John Valley.
President, Board of Directors, Abyssinian Meeting House
Pamela Cummings is President of the Board of Directors and Director of Education Programs for The Abyssinian Meeting House. She is also the writer of two books and the founder of A Walk Back in Time, a theatrical walk retracing the footsteps of enslaved people in Portland, Maine. She is proud mother of Lindsey Alston DAndrea and Douglas Alston.
Photo: PORTLAND, ME - MARCH 16: Pam Cummings, the head of the Committee to Restore the Abyssinian, in the upstairs of the meeting house which is currently being restored. The historical place of worship built by African Americans in the 19th century fell into disarray and a committee to restore the building has been working toward the goal for 20 years. (Staff photo by Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer)
Visiting Scholar, Brown University, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice
Meadow Dibble is a Visiting Scholar at Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. Originally from Cape Cod, she lived for six years on Senegal’s Cape Verde peninsula, where she co-founded and published a cultural magazine. Meadow received her PhD from Brown University’s Department of French Studies and taught at Colby College from 2005–08.
Today, she is editor of The International Educator newspaper. In 2018, following a brutal awakening to the reality of her hometown’s deep investment in the business of slavery, she launched Atlantic Black Box, a public history initiative devoted to researching and reckoning with New England’s role in the slave trade.
Marpheen Chann is the author of an upcoming memoir titled Moon in Full: A Modern Coming-of-Age Story (Islandport Press, June 2022), a Maine politician, speaker, community organizer, and gay man of color.
As a gay, first-generation Asian American born in California to a Cambodian refugee family and later adopted by an evangelical, white working-class family in Maine, Marpheen uses a mix of humor and storytelling to help people view topics such as racism, xenophobia, and homophobia through an intersectional lens.
Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education, University of Southern Maine
Libby Bischof explores American society through the lens of history—and the lens of a camera. A nineteenth-century American cultural historian, Professor Bischof specializes in the history of photography, particularly in Maine. Her other research interests include Maine history, modernism, how friendship informs cultural production, and nineteenth-century New England women writers.
Bischof co-curated of the exhibition Maine Moderns: Art in Sequinland, 1900-1940 at the Portland Museum of Art with Senior Curator Susan Danly. The show won the critic’s choice award for best Historic Show in the 2011 New England Art Awards.
Professor of History, University of Maine
Liam Riordan is a faculty member in the Department of History at the University of Maine in Orono. He is a specialist on the American Revolution, and has published about religious, racial and ethnic diversity in the Philadelphia region from 1770 to 1830, and the history of Loyalists. Riordan currently serves on Bangor’s Historic Preservation Commission.
He is the past the Director of the University of Maine Humanities Center, and a former board member of the Maine Humanities Council. He helps organize Maine National History Day, a statewide history contest for middle and high school students. Liam’s wife is the principal of Reeds Brook Middle School in Hamden and they have two children.