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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wade Davis, National Geographic Society Explorer-in-residence, to Speak at UH Mānoa on 12/7

Why Ancient Wisdom Matters In the Modern World
A Free Public Talk By
Wade Davis
explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society and distinguished environmental scientist, author, filmmaker, and speaker


A celebration of the wonder of the human imagination as expressed in culture.

In Polynesia, the art of navigation allowed the Wayfinders to infuse the entire Pacific Ocean with their imagination and genius. In the Amazon are the descendants of a true Lost Civilization, the People of the Anaconda, a complex of cultures inspired by mythological ancestors who even today dictate how humans must live in the forest. In the Andean Cordillera and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta of Colombia, you discover that the Earth really is alive, pulsing, responsive in a thousand ways to the spiritual readiness of humankind. 

Dreamtime and the Songlines will lead to the melaleuca forests of Arnhem Land.

We seek to understand the subtle philosophy of the first humans to walk out of Africa, the Aboriginal peoples of Australia. In Nepal a stone path takes us to a door opening to reveal the radiant face of a wisdom hero, a Bodhisattva, Tsetsam Ani, a Buddhist nun who forty-five years ago entered lifelong retreat. The flight of a hornbill, like a cursive script of nature, lets us know that we have arrived at last amongst the nomadic Penan in the upland forests of Borneo. 

What ultimately we will discover on this journey will be our mission for the next century.

There is a fire burning over the Earth, taking with it plants and animals, ancient skills and visionary wisdom. At risk is a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination, an oral and written language composed of the memories of countless elders and healers, warriors, farmers, fishermen, midwives, poets, and saints. In short, the artistic, intellectual, and spiritual expression of the full complexity and diversity of the human experience. Quelling this flame, and rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our times. 

Author signing will follow. UH Bookstore will have books available for purchase at the event. 

Wade Davis was named by the National Geographic Society as one of the Explorers for the Millennium. He has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.” He has also traveled and done extensive re- search in the preservation of indigenous cultures and languages, particularly in Polynesia.

An extraordinary and inspiring storyteller, Davis has appeared on and as host in documentaries on the National Geographic Channel and the Smithsonian Network. He is dedicated to preserving not only the biosphere, but also the “ethnosphere,” which he describes as “the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, and intuitions.”

This event is made possible by the late Dr. Dai Ho Chun through his estate gift, which established the Dai Ho Chun Endowment for Distinguished Lecturers at the UH-Mānoa Colleges of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Chun was a distinguished and visionary educator.

This lecture is also sponsored by the UH-Mānoa College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature. Additional support is provided by Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing.

Information: 956-5790 or 

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