On March 9, 2003, Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher visited Aspen, with
their spectacular multi-media presentation and book-signing event on
Beckwith & Fisher are responsible for the exceptional large-format
books African Ceremonies, African Ark, Nomads of Niger, Maasi, and
Africa Adorned, which have sold in the hundreds of thousands of copies
world-wide. Their photographs have also appeared on the cover of
National Geographic magazine.
A reception, dinner and auction followed, to benefit projects of Friends of Africa International.
Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton is the former coordinator of the African
Elephant program for the European Economic Community and senior
associate for the African Wildlife Foundation, is the founder of 'Save
the Elephants', based in Nairobi, Kenya, and was awarded the Order of
the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth for "services to the protection of
Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton and his wife Oria co-authored the highly acclaimed books, Among the Elephants and Battle for the Elephants,
which chronicle their struggle to help protect elephants from poachers
and their work to help build a coalition of conservationists against the
powerful ivory trade.
In 1993 FOAI sponsored a presentation in Aspen by Dr. Iain
Douglas-Hamilton, in which the film featured on national television in
which he is featured, Islands of Elephant, was shown. He has returned to Aspen a number of times for presentations and special events.
Originally from England, Ian Redmond (at the right in the photo, with
FOAI board members) has studied wildlife around the world extensively,
and has worked with famed mountain gorilla researcher, Dian Fossey, of
"Gorillas in the Mist" fame. Redmond's character was portrayed in the
film as a young biologist. He also assisted with the film production
starring Sigourney Weaver. He is the author of a number of books for
children, including: The Elephant Book" (which features a preface by
FOAI International Advisory Board Member, Dr. Daphne Sheldrick). Also he
has written, "The Elephant in the Bush", "Monkeys and Apes", and "The
Story of Digit" (a biography of the famed mountain gorilla which Dian
Fossey knew since birth).
In talking about his time working with Fossey, he claimed that the
"research had to be shelved because all our gorillas were being killed
by poachers". He speaks about being the first researcher to come upon
the body of the slain "Digit", and how the head and hands had been
chopped off for sale in the African markets. Redmond has served as a
consultant to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, and was the Editor of "Digit
News", a publication devoted to gorilla research and conservation.
In addition to his work on the gorillas, he has done extensive research
on the cave elephants of Mt. Elgon in western Kenya. These elephants
are known for their propensity to mine minerals from the walls of the
caves with their tusks, which is a reaction to a lack of minerals in
In his slide presentations to the school children of the Aspen area, he
delightfully entertained the students with animated imitations of animal
sounds and gestures depicting animal behavior. Mr. Redmond has
appeared in the TV film Islands of Elephants with Dr. Iain
Douglas-Hamilton. His visits to Aspen, Colorado, were made possible by a
partnership between Friends of Africa International and Abwenzi African Studies.
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In October of 1992, FOAI hosted Bob Campbell, renowned National Geographic photographer.
Mr. Campbell brought the world's attention to Dian Fossey's mountain gorilla research in Rwanda.
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Mpho Tutu is the youngest of four children of Anglican Archbishop
Desmond Tutu, the 1984 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. She was
educated in London and Swaziland, and majored in electrical engineering
at Howard University in Washington D.C.
During the summer of 1994 Friends of Africa International hosted Ms.
Tutu at a barbecue and reception in her honor. She delighted the
attendees with a lively discussion about the culture, politics and
future outlook for the women's role in a changing South African society.
Mpho Tutu is currently studying for the Master's of Divinity degree at
the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Masai junior elder, Nemarrau "John" Ole Tome, who comes from the Talek
area of the Masai Mara in Kenya, visited Aspen area schools in 1995 and
again in 1999. Ole Tome has amused locals and tourists alike by
arriving at the Aspen airport dressed in his shuka cloth robe, ochre
braided hair and leather sandals to a chilly 30-degree temperature.
Unruffled by the winter climate of the 7,500-foot altitude mountain
terrain, he gleefully embarked upon his mission to enhance the lives and
knowledge of a multitude of typical American kids in local elementary
and middle schools.
During his visits to the Aspen area, Ole Tome spoke to, and visited
with, over 2,000 students, captivating them with his discussions on what
it is like growing up in a Masai village. He spoke of the lifestyle of
the Masai people, their heritage, and some of the problems facing the
Masai culture today. Born to a family, which included 21 children, he
outlined the family structure and social parameters of a Masai youth,
and defined the relationships between family members and their respect
for one another.
In Kenya, Ole Tome is a lecturer on Masai culture at various tourist
lodges in the Masai Mara, and has lectured extensively in the US as
well. He has been featured on CNN Inside Africa, National Geographic,
BBC, and many newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. This presentation was a
joint effort with another local organization, Abwenzi African Studies, directed by Ms. Carlyle Kyzer.
Please click here for more information about Ole Tome.
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Peter Beard, the world famous photographer, author and environmentalist, is famous for his book The End of the Game, depicting the demise of elephants in Africa.
In June of 1992, Peter Beard came to Aspen to give a beneift for FOAI on
"The Art of the Maasai". This benefit was endorsed by the United
Nations Environmental Program as was part of the Aspen Celebration for
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In February, 1992, FOAI co-sponsored with the World Wildlife Fund and
the Aspen Middle School African Studies Class a presentation by Henri
Nsanjama, World Wildlife Fund Vice President for Africa and Madagascar.
Nsanjama, a Malawi native, gave an extremely informative address to an Aspen audience about conservation in Africa.
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In 1994 master printmaker, Dennis Curry, came to Aspen (Colorado) for
the opening of a magnificent show, where his lithographs on African
wildlife were featured. This event was organized by FOAI as a
fundraiser with a portion of the sales being donated to the
A printmaker for 25 years, Curry has developed a lithography process in
which he works directly on plastic drafting mylar instead of on a plate
or stone. Each image takes about four months to make. This technique,
and the offset printing process he uses, allows a Curry print to hold
all the subtle nuances of his original drawings.
Curry very much thinks of his work as "environmental art". He said that
the relationship he's developed with Africa over time has allowed him
to see firsthand the threat to so many of the animals he encounters
there. Curry does not want his art to become "historical", that is, to
see these species become extinct. "The more people are familiar with
them, the more likely they are to try to save them, " he said.
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