Conservation International has announced that former President of Botswana, Ian Khama, will join as a Distinguished Fellow. Khama, Botswana’s fourth president, previously served as a Conservation International board member for 19 years. In his role as a Distinguished Fellow, Khama will represent Conservation International across Africa and build on his decades-long legacy of forging a more sustainable development path for the region. Khama, a driving force behind the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA), will continue to work with member countries and engage new ones to align economic development and sustainability goals.
Khama will also work with the international community to combat the illegal wildlife trade through the Elephant Protection Initiative; a multi-national coalition where Conservation International serves as secretariat. Building on his success in helping to make Botswana a beacon of sustainable tourism, Khama will also continue to provide leadership in ensuring tourism supports the region’s environmental and cultural heritage. “What President Khama brings to Conservation International is immeasurable. For decades, he has provided us with a unique perspective as an exceptional leader who shares our commitment to securing nature for the benefit of people. We’re thrilled to continue to benefit from his vision and institutional knowledge to preserve Africa’s rich natural resources,” said Conservation International Chairman Peter Seligmann. “Over 30 years ago, Conservation International was founded on the principle that community-led conservation was the approach that best benefited people and ecosystems. President Khama embodies this approach and has successfully led environmental initiatives in Botswana and the broader African region to implement this idea. We are honored to have President Khama continue to lend us his leadership and expertise as a Distinguished Fellow,” said Conservation International CEO Dr. M. Sanjayan.