Wade Davis

Past Global Perspectives Guest Speaker

An Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, Wade Davis has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.”  An ethnographer, writer, photographer and filmmaker, he holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University.

Wade spent more than three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among 15 indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6,000 botanical collections.  In Haiti, he investigated folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, an assignment that led to his writing The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986), an international best seller later released as a motion picture.  Wade is the author of 17 books including One River (1996), The Wayfinders (2009), The Sacred Headwaters (2011), and Into the Silence (2011), winner of the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize, the most prestigious award for nonfiction in the English language.  His many film credits include the eight hour documentary series Light at the Edge of the World, written and produced for National Geographic. 

In 2009 he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his contributions to anthropology and conservation.  He is the 2011 recipient of the Explorers’ Medal, the highest award of The Explorers Club, the 2012 David Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration, and the 2013 Ness Award from the Royal Geographical Society for popularizing geography through writing about places, cultures and exploration.  In 2012 he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Canadian government.

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