WildChina On-Air: In Conversation With Jim Harkness (Event #77)
Join us as we learn about the history of the National Geographic Society in China from China Country Director, Jim Harkness.
National Geographic Society started supporting explorers in China in the early 20th century, and the stories and photographs they brought back live on as a window to the past.
Mr. Harkness will be sharing stories and photographs from these explorers, as well as touching on some of our favorite WildChina destinations and the explorers who made their mark pioneering those areas.
China Country Director @National Geographic Society
Jim Harkness’ China journey began at age 14, when he was chosen to join the first US high school student delegation to visit the People’s Republic of China. After combining Chinese language and wildlife ecology studies at the University of Wisconsin, he was asked by the International Crane Foundation to help initiate field work in China at a time when most areas of the country were still closed to outsiders.
In 1990-91, ICF sent him to Tibet as part of the first comprehensive survey of the rare Black-necked Crane. After receiving his Masters’ degree from Cornell University in 1993, Jim worked as coordinator for the American Zoo Association Giant Panda Conservation Action Plan.
He then served as a program officer for Environment and Development at the Ford Foundation China office and then as Chief Representative for WWF China. He returned to the US in 2006 to serve as President of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Since 2019, Jim has been China Country Director at the NGS.
- Mei ZhangFounder and CEO of WildChina
Mei Zhang is the founder and CEO of WildChina. Under her leadership, WildChina flourished from a small Hutong operation into an award-winning business. Mei’s own expertise has led her to win a number of personal awards, including Travel and Leisure’s A-List of Top Travel Advisors, Condé Nast Traveler’s Top Travel Specialist, and Wendy Perrin’s #WOW List of Travel Experts. Mei is an Aspen Institute China Fellow and currently serves as a member of Harvard Business School’s Alumni Board.