About Wade Davis – Inspiring Anthropologist, Author and Speaker
Wade Davis is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. Named by the NGS 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. A professional speaker for over twenty years, the
inspirational Davis has lectured at the American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, California Academy of Sciences, Missouri Botanical Garden, Field Museum of Natural History, New York Botanical Garden, National Geographic Society, Royal Ontario Museum, the Explorer's Club, the Royal Geographical Society, the Oriental Institute, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank as well as some 250 universities, including Harvard, M.I.T., Oxford, Yale, Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, Duke, Vanderbilt, University of Pennsylvania, Tulane and Georgetown.
An ethnographer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker, Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Mostly through the Harvard Botanical Museum, he spent over three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among fifteen indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6000 botanical collections. His work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, an assignment that led to his writing Passage of Darkness (1988), and The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986), an international best seller later released by Universal as a motion picture.
His other books include Penan: Voice for the Borneo Rain Forest (1990), Shadows in the Sun (1993), Nomads of the Dawn (1995), The Clouded Leopard (1998), Rainforest (1998), Light at the Edge of the World (2001), The Lost Amazon (2004), Grand Canyon (2008), Book of Peoples of the World (ed. 2008), The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World and One River (1996), which was nominated for the 1997 Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction. His books have been translated into fourteen languages, including Basque, Serbian, Japanese and Malay. His latest books are Into the Silence, an epic history of World War I and the early British efforts to summit Everest, and The Sacred Headwaters both published in 2011.
Davis has written for National Geographic, Newsweek, Premiere, Outside, Omni, Harpers, Fortune, Men's Journal, Condé Nast Traveler, Natural History, Utne Reader, National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, and numerous other international publications.
His photographs have appeared in some 20 books and more than 80 magazines, journals and newspapers, including National Geographic, Time, Geo, People, Men’s Journal, Outside, and National Geographic Adventure. They have been exhibited at the International Center of Photography (I.C.P.), the Marsha Ralls Gallery, Washington, D.C., the United Nations (Cultures on the Edge exhibition 2004), the Carpenter Center of Harvard University, and the Utama Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Select images are part of the permanent collection of the U.S. State Department, Africa and Latin America Bureaus.
Davis is the co-curator of The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes, first exhibited at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, and currently touring Latin America.