About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee

Greetings from the National Archives’ flagship building in Washington, DC, which sits on the ancestral lands of the Nacotchtank peoples. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it is my pleasure to welcome you to the seventh meeting of the 2020 to 2022 term of the federal Freedom of Information Act Advisory Committee.

Two years have passed since the FOIA Advisory Committee last met in person here at the main Archives building and the pandemic up-ended life as we know it. It appears that there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. I am thrilled to report that we are welcoming researchers back into our research rooms on a limited by-appointment-only basis as local public health metrics allow. And the National Archives Museum here in Washington, DC, is no longer requiring tickets or face coverings based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Public in-person events have yet to resume, but as we have shown again and again since March 2020, the National Archives has met people where they are through a variety of virtual platforms, including the National Archives YouTube Channel.

FOIA Advisory Committee members: today, I look forward to hearing from you about the work you all have been doing on final recommendations on a wide range of issues relating to the administration of FOIA.

I invite all of you — Committee members and attendees alike — to tune in on Monday March 14 at 1 pm Eastern Time when the National Archives celebrates Sunshine Week, a national initiative led by the News Leaders Association to educate the public about the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy.

Philanthropist and National Archives supporter David Rubenstein will interview Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden and me about a range of topics, including the unique roles the National Archives and Library of Congress play in documenting and preserving our nation’s history and promoting civic literacy and democracy. I hope you will join us March 14th on the National Archives YouTube Channel.

Finally, I look forward to joining you for April’s FOIA Advisory Committee meeting—my last before retiring after 12 years as Archivist of the United States. Thank you, Committee members, for your hard work tackling some of FOIA’s toughest challenges.