Modern genetics has demonstrated that we are all cut from the same genetic cloth, that notions of race are little more than a fiction. All humans share a common genius, whether it is directed through technological wizardry at understanding of the clockwork of the cosmos, or introspectively in contemplation of our spiritual origins. In the tradition of the great explorers of the modern era, Davis has made significant contributions to documenting the vast pharmacopeia of medicinal and psychoactive plants and the diverse human cultural traditions that they embody. A consummate storyteller, Davis will share some of his extraordinary encounters in the course of his investigations and explorations.
Wade Davis is an anthropologist, author, and explorer. He is Professor of Anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. Between 2000 and 2013 he served as Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. Named by the NGS as one of the Explorers for the Millennium, he has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.”
Davis spent over three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among 15 indigenous groups while making some 6000 botanical collections. His work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, an assignment that led to his writing The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986), an international best seller later released by Universal as a motion picture. In recent years his work has taken him to East Africa, Borneo, Nepal, Peru, Polynesia, Tibet, Mali, Benin, Togo, New Guinea, Australia, Colombia, Vanuatu, Mongolia and the high Arctic of Nunavut and Greenland.
Davis is the author of 375 scientific and popular articles and 23 books including One River (1996), and The Wayfinders (2009). His photographs have been widely exhibited and have appeared in 37 books and 130 magazines, including National Geographic, Time, and Outside. His 40 film credits include Light at the Edge of the World and El Sendero de la Anaconda, available on Netflix. A professional speaker for 30 years, Davis has lectured at over 200 universities and 250 corporations and professional associations. He has spoken from the main stage at TED five times, and his talks have been viewed by over 8 million. His books have appeared in 22 languages and sold approximately one million copies. He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and memberships.
Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology from Harvard University. In 2018 he became an Honorary Citizen of Colombia. He lives in Vancouver, BC with his wife, anthropologist Gail Percy.