Appointment of Dr. Aileen Friesen as Plett Foundation Executive Director

Friday, May 4, 2018

A. Friesen - May 4, 2018We 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

3rd Annual CTMS Lecture | Unexpected Connections: Mennonites in Mexican Media

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Join us on Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the University of Winnipeg (515 Portage Ave., Winnipeg, MB), room 2M70 in Manitoba Hall, for the 3rd Annual Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies (CTMS) Lecture, “Unexpected Connections: Mennonites in Mexican Media” by Dr. Rebecca Janzen, Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina.

How have Low German Mennonites been viewed by their Mexican neighbours? Mexican archival photographs, documents, and television tell us much about the Mennonites – their conflict with Indigenous people, their struggle over land, their relationship with violent drug cartels. In the process, these sources ask us how we decide how belongs in a society.

CTMS is a partnership of the D. F. Plett Historical Research Foundation and the Chair in Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg. For more information, visit:

New Position at UW: Assistant Professor in Mennonite History/ ED of Plett Foundation

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

“The University of Winnipeg is seeking applicants for a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Mennonite History.  The successful candidate will be appointed in the History department, will teach History (including cross-listed Mennonite Studies courses), and will have a PhD in History or a relevant discipline. […] Historically, this position has been held by the Executive Director (ED) of the D.F. Plett Historical Research Foundation, and if it is agreeable to both parties, the successful candidate will be offered the ED position.”

Please see full posting for further details on the position and application procedure.

UW Hist Prof - PF Exec Dir Ad - Jan 30, 2018


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