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National Geographic Explorer gives SLCC Tanner Lecture


Wade Davis, Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, provided the 2012 Tanner Forum on Social Ethics lecture at Salt Lake Community College. His lecture: “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in a Modern World”, took place on November 1, 2012 in the College’s Grand Theatre.

“Storytelling can really change the world. Change is one person; change is storytelling,” Davis said. “I have been able to journey through the ethnoshpere and see that, while every culture is not perfect, they all have something to say to us. There is value in preserving culture.”

SLCC students, faculty and staff members, and people from the general public listened as Davis spoke about embracing the opportunity we all share to live in a diverse world.
“It was an amazing experience to have someone like that on campus—someone who had just completed a trip around the world,” SLCC publications manager Sharlee Smith who was in attendance said. “The combination of the dramatic visuals and the eloquent language as he talked about truly sacred experiences was profound.”

Wade Davis is an ethnographer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker, he holds degrees from Harvard University in anthropology and biology and ethnobotany. His work has taken him from the Amazon to Tibet, from the Arctic to Africa, from Australia to Mongolia, from Polynesia to New Guinea, living for extended periods among indigenous communities.

Davis is the author of 13 books including The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986), One River (1996), The Clouded Leopard (1998), Light at the Edge of the World (2001), and The Lost Amazon (2004). In 2009 he delivered the CBC Massey Lectures, Canada’s most prestigious intellectual forum, which were published as The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World. His books have been translated into 14 languages, and in 2002 he received the Lannan Foundation prize for literary nonfiction.

Among Davis’s film credits are: Light at the Edge of the World, a four-hour documentary series produced for the National Geographic Channel. He is one of 20 Honorary Members of the Explorer’s Club, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an Honorary Member and Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. In 2009 he received the Gold Medal from the RCGS for his contributions to the fields of anthropology and his work in raising public concern about the plight of indigenous peoples throughout the world.

The Tanner Forum on Social Ethics brings nationally and internationally recognized speakers in the area of social ethics to Salt Lake Community College annually. The Tanner Forum enhances the College’s mission as a community-based learning institution by providing opportunities for the students, faculty, staff and wider community to come together for the thoughtful examination of critical issues in contemporary social ethics. The Tanner Forum on Social Ethics is funded by the O.C. Tanner Company.

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