Marsh Marjan Award
This Award is run in partnership with the Marjan Centre for the Study of Conflict and Conservation within the Department of War Studies at King’s College.
The Award is given annually to someone who has made an invaluable contribution to an area where conflict and conservation overlap. In parts of the world, the need for conservation is great, due to a high density of species or richness in natural resources. However, quite often these areas are also marked by human conflict which infringes on the need for conservation.
The Marjan Centre seeks to understand these threats, help create a sustainable future for societies living under these conditions and support their transition from conflict to post-conflict planning.
The 2016 winners are Keith Somerville and Stephane Crayne
Keith is a lecturer, writer and journalist who previously spent 28 years in a variety of senior editorial roles at the BBC. He currently lectures in journalism studies at Kent University as well as being a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London. In addition, Keith is founder-editor of the ‘Africa News and Analysis’ website. His interest in Africa has led him to write numerous articles and books about the continent, last year publishing the highly-acclaimed Africa’s Long Road Since Independence: The Many Histories of a Continent.
Added to his profound knowledge of African politics and culture, is Keith’s passion for the continent’s conservation which has enable him to form and almost unparalleled overview of the many overlapping aspects of the ivory trade. This is clearly demonstrated in his nuanced understanding of ‘blood ivory’, i.e. ivory sold to fund militia insurgency and terror.
Keith has shown a long-time vigilance and commitment in drawing the world’s attention to Africa’s multiple conservation issues linked to the illegal wildlife trade, especially the ivory trade. These efforts have culminated in the publication of a master work on the subject, Ivory: Power and Poaching in Africa, which Keith discussed in more detail at the presentation.
Stephane is a truly ‘global citizen’ having been educated in Damascus, Montreal, Casablanca and the UK, as well as serving in the French Army and in a number of volunteering positions across the world. He has made a great contribution to conservation in the Central African Republic where the civil war has killed scores of people and resulted in rampant ivory poaching alongside chronic underdevelopment.
Working in contrast of beautiful, prime rainforest and a real fear of trouble and violence, Stephane was trying to hold the ring in one of the world’s ivory poaching ‘hotspots, balancing the reality of dealing with armed poachers who had been involved with the mass killing of elephants in the world-famous Sangha Sangha National Park.
Following his Central African Republic WWF contract, Stephane took on the challenge of turning around the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The headquarters of the organisation had been attacked many years ago, resulting in the death of several rangers and is still wracked by feuding militias and poaching today – it is there that Stephane travelled from for the Awards presentation.
Pictured: Keith Somerville (top) and Stephane Crayne (bottom)
The Marjan Centre
Department of War Studies