April 24, 2024

Prescott College to Host 16th Annual Sustainability Education Ph.D. Symposium May 8-10

Prescott College’s 15th Annual Ph.D. Sustainability Education Ph.D. Symposium, set for May 8-10, 2023 promises to be an exciting and stimulating community experience.

Click to view the full schedule of Symposium events. This event is free of charge and open to the community at large–including Alumni–so invite your colleagues, friends, and family. All sessions will take place at the Crossroads Center unless otherwise stated in the schedule of events.

This year’s symposium will feature justice-innovating Keynote speaker Meitamei Olol Dapash, who will present “Maasai Futures: Recentering Indigenous Visions of Sustainability.” on Thursday, May 9th starting at 3:30 PM MST/PDT.


Meitamei is a community leader and activist of the Maasai community of East Africa, whose life has been devoted to the cultural survival of his community: the recovery and protection of Maasai lands; the survival of pastoralism; and the rights of East African wildlife.

Having graduated from Edgerton College in 1987 at the age of 24, he founded the Maasai Environmental Resource Coalition (MERC) in Kenya to coordinate, resource, and represent grassroots efforts of 150 Maasai organizations and community leaders.  As a director of membership and community outreach for the East African Wildlife Society, Meitamei coined the concept of community-based conservation, and implemented the incipient approach to conservation through collaboration with Maasai communities, leading him to travel extensively throughout Maasailand to learn local realities and initiate programs. One of the programs he launched was the now popular Wildlife Clubs in Kenyan schools. 

In response to a climate of political repression in Kenya, in the early 1990s Meitamei traveled to the U.S. to find international allies and established MERC US in Washington State, in 1994, and then Washington D.C. There, as Executive Director of MERC’s international office, Meitamei represented the interests of Maasai people in the Species Survival Network, Cultural Survival, and at international forums including UN conventions such as the Convention International Biodiversity, Convention on Protection of Migratory Birds, the RAMSAR Commission on Wetlands, UN Commission on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the International Trade in Endangered Species), Convention (CITIES). He has participated in the review of World Bank’s Indigenous Peoples Operative 10.0, which is an instrument used by world Bank to minimize the impacts of its projects on the indigenous peoples in developing countries. Meitamei spoken extensively on conservation and Indigenous peoples’ issues on BBC and Voice of America, and has articles published in numerous publications including New York Times, Washington Post, Cultural Survival Quarterly, and the African Wildlife Institute Humane Society Magazine, magazines. He has been a Synergos fellow since 2011.

Meitamei ran for Parliament as an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM-Kenya) candidate in the Narok North district of Kenya in 2007, 2013 and 2017, and for Senate in 2022, typically through community grassroots party coalitions. Since 2008 he has led the fight for the return of Mau Narok, a 30,000 acre region of traditional Maasai homeland.  Meitamei build several successful movements including the “Melo Mara”, which stopped attempts pf privatize the Maasai Mara Game Reserved. Meitamei Also led efforts to stop illegal killing and capture of Wildlife in Maasailand in Liondo Tanzania. Meitamei currently co-directs MERC now the Institute for Maasai Education, Research & Conservation) with Mary Poole, and is director of the Dopoi Center for Education and Research. Meitamei is the founder and patron of the Mara Guides Association, a labor union representing the interests of hundreds of Maasai youth participating in the Kenya’s tourism industry. He represents the Maasai community in various policy making boards and initiatives in Kenya including being the Chair of Building Bridges Initiatives. Meitamei is a PhD candidate at Prescott College in Sustainability Education and co-author of the forthcoming Decolonizing History in Maasailand: A Path to Indigenous African Futures (Zed Books, Dec 2024.)

Prescott’s Ph.D. Sustainability Education Symposium provides both information and inspiration as students continue on their learning path. A complete schedule of events, including Dissertation presentations and panel discussions, provide the opportunity for students to present research, ideas, and work-in-progress to peers and faculty, receiving both support and challenge in return. The symposium also includes opportunities to learn about the work of others in the field, meet with their faculty, and gather with their cohort of fellow learners.