Press Release for Thursday, October 9, 2003

Richard Leakey to Speak at UNF




(904) 620-2140

Richard Leakey, one of the world’s best-known paleoanthropologists, will speak on “Wildlife Wars: The Fight to Save Africa’s Natural Treasures” on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Arena as part of the University of North Florida’s Distinguished Voices Lecture Series.

The event, which is co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council and Water Street Capital, is free and open to the public, but tickets are required and are available at the UNF Ticket Box Office by calling (904) 620-2878.

During his visit to UNF, Leakey will speak with students taking Introduction to Anthropology. This 10 a.m. class visit is open to the media and will be in Honors Hall, Building 10, Room 1341. To set up media interviews with Leakey, contact the Office of News and Publications at (904) 620-2140.

Leakey, the son of Louis B. and Mary Leakey, is credited with some of the most significant fossil discoveries of the 20th century. He also has been a senior government official in Kenya, an opposition political activist, a conservationist, a museum director and a scientific researcher.


He became director of the Kenya Wildlife Services in 1989 and led a movement to end elephant poaching in Africa, nearly eliminating the international ivory trade. In 1994, he resigned, claiming that government corruption had undermined the Kenya Wildlife Services.

Despite being involved in a plane crash that resulted in the loss of both his legs below the knee, Leakey continued his political activism in Kenya, forming an opposition political party.

In 1998, at the behest of the government, he returned to the wildlife service and in 1999 was appointed head of the country’s civil service and secretary of the Kenyan cabinet. However, heated conflicts with the Kenyan government forced him to step down.

Leakey recently joined Stony Brook University in New York as a visiting professor of anthropology. He has turned his attention to conservation and the environment by raising awareness of major ecosystems crises. He is working to develop a $500 million endowment for wildlife preservation for the National Parks of East Africa.

Leakey’s visit is part of the inaugural year for the Distinguished Voices Lecture Series. The series is designed to bring experts from diverse fields to campus for interaction with faculty, staff, students and the general public.

-- UNF --