Appointment of Dr. Aileen Friesen as Plett Foundation Executive Director

May 4, 2018

We are very pleased to announce Dr. Aileen Friesen’s appointment as Mennonite historian at the University of Winnipeg and Executive Director of the D.F. Plett Historical Research Foundation Inc.  As such she will also serve as co-director of the new Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies at the University, and work closely with the Mennonite Heritage Archives.

Dr. Friesen comes to her new position with a wealth of research experience, especially in Russia.  Her work on 19th century migrations in, within and out of Russia, is of particular interest to the Plett Foundation.  Aileen has a book in press on faith and settlement in Siberia, and is the editor the newly released, The Russian Mennonite Story (by Paul Toews with Aileen Friesen).

Since earning her doctorate in Russian history at the University of Alberta, she has held a number of post-doctoral fellowships, including the University of Illinois, the University of Winnipeg (Plett Fellowship) and Conrad Grebel University College (J. Winfield Fretz Fellowship).

Dr. Hans Werner notes that “I am very pleased to be able to hand off to a gifted and energetic young scholar like Aileen.  She will continue developing the Plett Foundation program and research the history of the 1870s migrants to Manitoba, especially their background in Russia.”

Dr. Friesen will focus her teaching on Mennonite and European history at the University of Winnipeg, and work closely with the Chair in Mennonite Studies.  At the Plett Foundation she will edit the Preservings magazine, promote the “Mennonite History for Young People” series, oversee the Plett Fellowships and other research linked to the Plett Foundation mandate.

Aileen, who presently lives in Kitchener with her husband, Bruce and son Alex, is planning to relocate to Winnipeg.   She will begin her position on July 1.

Royden Loewen,

Board Chair, D.F. Plett Historical Research Foundation

Director, Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies

Interested in telling the mennonite story?

Our Grants