Fight for fauna: Recognizing the proliferation of wildlife crime on Endangered Species Day

Today marks the 10th Annual Endangered Species Day in the United States. Various events taking place at zoos, aquariums, schools and protected areas across the country will recognize our national conservation efforts to protect America’s endangered species and their habitats. While the awareness events are domestic in nature, they also serve as worthwhile opportunities to bring attention to the heart-wrenching wildlife poaching and trafficking epidemic that is truly a global battle. Last year, over 1,200 rhinos were poached in South Africa alone. The western black rhino was declared extinct in 2013 and there is only one remaining male African white rhino. This estimated $20-billion-a-year market encompasses much more than rhinos and extends well beyond South Africa. According to a recent Washington Post article, there are less than 3,200 tigers in the wild; while over 100 million sharks are killed annually (shark fins are a delicacy used in soup throughout Asia).


The Impact of Exchange: Changing Race Relations in South Africa

Today is Election Day in South Africa, 20 years after the country’s first all-race vote and the 5th national election since the fall of apartheid. Many are part of a generation of “born frees” – citizens born after apartheid that are voting for the first time. On this day, we remember a South African visitor that came through our doors for a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (formerly under the U.S. Information Agency) in 1976. He was a member of the South African Parliament under apartheid and had been serving for seven...


Thank You, Nelson Mandela!

As I soaked in the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing last night, I was reminded of my visit to Johannesburg in September. While every minute of my visit to that beautiful country was memorable, there is one experience that I will never forget – my visit to Nelson Mandela’s home on Vilakazi Street, Orlando West in Soweto. Continue  

A Foot in Both Worlds

With the unique opportunity to coordinate two conferences as part of follow-on for the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative–and hours to clock at airports and en route to Dakar, Senegal–I eagerly settled in with the search function at For a while now, as part of my travel, I love nothing more than to dive into books—generally fiction—set in the place where I’m heading.