Passing of Dr. Mary Ellen Lane

Senator Hollings with Dr. Mary Ellen Lane

Dr. Mary Ellen Lane, founding board member and former Vice Chair of the Hollings Center for International Dialogue passed away on November 3, 2019 after battling a long illness. The Hollings Center expresses its sincere condolences to Dr. Lane’s family, friends, and colleagues.

In addition to her service to the Center, Dr. Lane served as the Executive Director of the Council of American Research Centers (CAORC) for 29 years prior to her retirement from that position in 2014. During her impressive tenure as Executive Director, she worked to provide coordination and secure funding for over 25 research institutions that were established in countries and regions typically underserved by the academic and research communities. During that time, she fostered many connections between American and international institutions, opening the door for thousands of scholars to conduct collaborative study around the world.

It was in her capacity as Executive Director of CAORC that she played an integral role in the formation and organization of the Hollings Center for International Dialogue. In addition to hosting the initial steering committee meeting for the Center in Istanbul in 2004, CAORC provided administrative and programmatic support to the Center during its first few years of operation. During that time, Dr. Lane continued to champion the original vision of Senator Hollings of promoting dialogue between the United States and Muslim-majority nations. Dr. Lane continued to serve on the Hollings Center Board of Directors until her retirement from the board in 2017.

CAORC established the Mary Ellen Lane Fund to support American overseas research centers. In an era of increasing political and economic volatility, the fund aims to enable future directors to act with speed to respond to emergencies and capitalize on unexpected opportunities. For more information about this fund, please visit


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A non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fostering dialogue between the United States and countries with predominantly Muslim populations in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Eurasia and Europe


US Phone: +1 202-833-5090

Istanbul Phone: +90 530 151 5603

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