ILA Awards and Procedures

ILA Research and Other Award Winners for 2023

(Learn about this project/person and all the ILA Award winners here[hyperlink].)

Graduate Thesis: Annie Rappapport

Annie Rappaport has been awarded The Graduate Thesis or Dissertation Award by

the International Listening Association at the 44th Convention on 29th July in

Mainz, Germany. The award goes to Annie Rappaport for her PhD. Dissertation,

"Past as Prologue to Peace in Post-Genocide Cambodia," completed at U. of

Maryland. The research is a qualitative study that references her conscious use of

active listening; “The entirety of this research effort is intended to illuminate areas

where we (peace workers and educators) need to look, listen, and act.” The

research is about “Stories, Not Siloes - How I Listened, Adapted and Analyzed.”

The research questions aim to have key informants share which areas in justice,

peace and reconciliation work need improvement. The whole endeavor gears

towards action for positive peace informed policies and practice. The work is also

significant for the fact that Dr. Andy Wolvin was on the dissertation committee.

Outstanding Educator: Helen Meldrum

Helen Meldrum is a successful teacher and researcher addressing contemporary

topics in the field of Psychology and Health Communication with a focus on

Listening. She has been a dedicated member of ILA since 2006, previously won

the ILA Researcher of the Year award and has published three books on

communications and organizations in healthcare settings. Her articles, interviews,

editorials and reviews have appeared in publications as varied as USA Today, The

Wall St. Journal, Patient Care, and The Journal of Therapeu5c Communica5on.

Helen has delivered a variety of educational presentations at the ILA including her

most recent topics on “The History of Empathy Instruction in Medical Schools”

and “Obstacles to Listening in Healthcare.”

She has served on the Education, HealthCare and Research Committees and

continues to service in listening education to our global listening community. And

in 2018, she received another Award, the International Listening Association-Hall

of Fame Lifetime Service Award.

Listener of the Year

Listener of the Year was a challenging category this year. The awards commi]ee

had multiple well-deserving nominees so we chose two Listeners of the Year: one

individual and one group.

Listener of the Year: The Active Listening Center

The Active Listening Center has been awarded Listener of the Year by the

International Listening Association at the 44th Convention on 29th July in Mainz,


The group Listener of the year goes to The Active Listening Center at the

Universidad Francisco de Vitoria. The center embodies the mission of ILA by

engaging in listening research, education, and community engagement in an

ongoing effort to demonstrate the power of listening to all aspects of life. The

center has developed innovative programs and initiatives that have had a

profound impact on both individuals and communities. By nurturing the essential

skill of active listening, we have empowered countless individuals to engage in

meaningful conversations, build stronger relationships, and address conflict with

empathy and understanding.

Listener of the Year: Otto Scharmer and the Presencing Institute Team

Otto Scharmer and the Presencing Institute Team has been awarded Listener of

the Year by the International Listening Association at the 44th Convention on 29th

July in Mainz, Germany.

The individual Listener of the year has actively spread of word about the

importance of listening through his work and publications on presencing and the

power of attending to transform systems and individuals. His Theory U has

brought much awareness of the importance of listening to the business world. He

chairs the MIT IDEAS program for cross-sector innovation and introduced the

concept of “presencing”—learning from the emerging future—in his bestselling

books Theory U and Presence (the la]er co-authored with Peter Senge and

others). Presencing here is the basis for an acBve and aware listening.

Listening in the Business Sector: Colin Smith

Mr. Colin Smith has been awarded the ILA Listening in the Business Sector Award

for the consistent work he has done for increasing listening awareness in the

business sector.

The recipient of the award, Mr. Smith, has devoted his life for making people feel

they have been heard. As a consultant, he actively helps people with his own

listening competence, but at the same time, he facilitates his clients in the

process of becoming familiar with listening to themselves, trusting their own

intuition and thinking. Indeed, he is a creative and caring person in a sector that

has often been described as driven by financial gains. He has also been working

with the current president of the ILA, Raquel Ark, to develop the ILA Listening

Circles training program which is a great success.

Therefore, Mr. Smith is an outstanding candidate fully deserving of the 2023 ILA

Listening in the Business Sector Award.

Listening Hall of Fame: Dr Susan Timm

Dr Susan Timm, member of ILA for 23 years, has been awarded the ILA Hall of

Fame Award for a lifetime commitment to promoting listening for the benefit of


First, Dr Timm, is a communications educator, currently Professor at Elgin

Community College, Illinois, committed to the importance and power of listening

since an undergraduate. Indeed, Susan is a creative and caring educator who uses

listening to enhance the power of others, as examples, in response to COVID and

building a community Black Lives voice.

Second, Susan is very active in ILA, including Member of the Executive for several

years with particular responsibility for public relations. She was a member of the

original team that created the ‘Certified Listening Practitioner’, was central in

developing the ‘ILA Skills USA Listening Competition’, has been a member of the

‘Global Listening Centre’ since its inception in 2015, serving as one of its Directors

of Education, and has attended at least 16 ILA Conventions winning the ‘2008 ILA

President’s Choice Award’ for her support. Susan additionally has been publishing

listening-review articles across the US since 2000 – with a particular focus on

listening across diversity.

A broad major contributor to caring and listening across the world, a major longterm supporter of ILA, Dr Susan Timm truly is an outstanding candidate fully

deserving the 2023 ILA Hall of Fame Award.

Lifetime Achievement: Dr Bob Bohlken

The ILA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes one individual for significant

achievements over time. This year we are delighted to honor a longstanding

member of the ILA who has made substantial contributions to both the ILA

community and the field of listening.

Bob Bohlken has been an ILA member for more than 30 years. He regularly

presented at ILA convenBons with wisdom and humor. In addition to sharing his

insights generously, Bob gave financial support for ILA initiatives. He also served

on the ILA Board.

Bob was professor at Northwest Missouri State University. He has published

several books and arBcles with a great talent for reaching different audiences – for

example, his book Learning to Listen with Significant Others. His book Listening to

the Mukies helped children develop listening skills. His firm belief in a positive

future is best demonstrated by his membership in the “optimist club of Maryville”

in his hometown.

Over his lifetime, Bob Bohlken has enriched the ILA and the field of listening. We

are so pleased to honor him with the ILA Lifetime Achievement award.

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