Internationally renowned conservationist Richard Leakey to speak at Syracuse University April 1
Internationally renowned conservationist Richard Leakey to speak at Syracuse University April 1March 19, 2002Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Richard Leakey, who is among the world’s best-known paleoanthropologists and the former director of the Kenya Wildlife Services, will present “Wildlife Wars: The Fight to Save Africa’s Natural Treasures” at 4:30 p.m. April 1 in the College of Law Grant Auditorium at Syracuse University. The lecture, presented by the University Lectures and the Maxwell School’s Environmental Policy Speakers Series, is free and open to the public.
Leakey has made international headlines for more than 30 years as an opposition political activist in his native country of Kenya, as a conservationist, an administrator, museum director, author, farmer and respected scientist. He is credited with some of the most significant fossil discoveries of the 20th century, including the 1.6 million-year-old skeleton called Turkana Boy.
Uncompromising in his crusade against government corruption and unwavering in his devotion to his country, Leakey is a lifelong critic of mismanagement of Kenya’s wildlife. He was appointed director of Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) in 1989, where he led the effort to end elephant poaching in Africa. He drew international support for a ban on ivory trade with the public burning of $3 million worth of elephant tusks confiscated from poachers. One month later, the European Economic Community banned ivory imports. He was also successful in raising $150 million for wildlife conservation. His tenure was interrupted in 1993 when his plane crashed, claiming both of his legs. The following year, he resigned from his post, declaring that government corruption had undermined the KWS.
He then joined forces with political opposition parties in Kenya. In 1998, the Kenyan government asked Leakey to again take over the helm of the KWS to salvage it from bankruptcy. The following year, Leakey was appointed head of the Civil Service and Secretary of the Cabinet. During his tenure in government service, Leakey worked on a number of national issues, including HIV/AIDS, privatization of state-owned enterprises and the reduction of poverty and institutionalized corruption.
Leakey has authored more than 100 scientific articles and books, including his latest book, “Wildlife Wars” (St. Martins Press, 2001). He has presented several television programs, including the five-part “Making of Mankind” and NBC’s “Earthwatch.”
The University Lectures is a cross-disciplinary lecture series that brings to the University individuals of exceptional accomplishment in the areas of architecture and design; the humanities and the sciences; and public policy, management and communications. The lecture series is supported through a generous contribution by SU Trustee Robert B. Menschel ’51 and is consistent with initiatives in the University’s Academic Plan directed at expanding multidisciplinary discourse for students.