People have reflected on the question of “who are we?” for centuries, and that question became the jumping off point for this project: Who are we as an institution? And more importantly, who do we want to be?
We have over 100 years of exploration legacy behind us, empowered by the most extraordinary accomplishments of human history: First to the North Pole, first to the South Pole, first to the summit of Mount Everest, first to the deepest point in the ocean, first to the surface of the moon—all accomplished by our members. With that in mind, the question became, what does the future of The Explorers Club and the next 100 years of exploration look like?
To answer that question we are proud to launch, The Explorers Club 50: Fifty People Changing the World the World Needs to Know About. Every honoree featured here, as well as the hundreds of other nominees, are exploring, inspiring, and creating the future - the future of the planet, the future of food security, of paleontology, of biology, what our communities should look like, and so much more. The EC50 was established to not only reflect the great diversity of exploration, but to give a voice to these trailblazing explorers, scientists, and activists doing incredible work.
I could not be more pleased with the group selected to represent this first class. Over 400 nominations were received from 48 countries. Over 46 countries of work are represented by the winners from 17 countries of residence. The judges panel was composed of 12 esteemed international Explorers Club members who were tasked with thinking big, guided by the following questions: Does this candidate's work involve an outstanding, innovative, and impactful mode of exploration and inspire the greater understanding of the world around us? Does their work impact the communities they live in, in innovative ways? Would this recognition help expand the definition of exploration and further promote the Club's mission?
New projects can be difficult to get off the ground, especially in the midst of a global pandemic, but The Explorers Club had an incredible team behind this initiative. Thank you to Joe Rohde, EC50 Chair, who, in his elegant and imaginative way, gave life to this idea. J.R.Harris, chair of our Diversity and Inclusion initiative, helped us think critically about how to broaden our community and welcome the many faces of exploration from around the globe. Richard Garriott and Dan Kobal, whose early support gave this initiative the momentum it needed to get off the ground. Most importantly, thank you to the EC50 themselves - for their creativity, bravery, for pushing boundaries, and setting the bar so high.
The EC50 will be transformative to the composition of the Club, changing the face of our membership, challenging the way we have traditionally thought about exploration, and ultimately changing who we are for the better and bolstering our mission. I am proud of this project, humbled by the winners, and excited to see the future of exploration in the years to come.
Congratulations to Freeland's Onkuri Majumdar for being named to the "Explorers 50" by The Explorers Club , an annual recognition of the world's top 50 trailblazers in science, conservation, and more! Onkuri has run ranger training programs, investigated wildlife traffickers, globalized a mobile species ID, spearheaded a global Airport/Airline Training course, managed several offices and programs, and much more, in addition to just becoming the proud new mother of a daughter.