Richard Erskine Leakey

Richard Erskine Leakey was elected as an AAS Fellow in 2019. As a fellow, Richard Erskine Leakey contributes to the development of the Academy’s strategic direction through participation in AAS activities and governance structures. . This gears the Academys vision of transforming african lives through science.

Year elected
Cultural Sciences, Humanities & Social Sciences

Dr. Richard Leakey is currently a Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook University, New York where he also serves as the Founder and Chair of the Turkana Basin Institute, a Kenya based research facility that studies the history of life, past climate change and origins of humans.  Until recently he was the Chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service. Most of his life has been devoted to research on human origins, conservation of wildlife and public service.     Formerly Director of Kenya’s National Museums, Director of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Department, founding Director and Chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Member of Parliament in Kenya and Head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Richard Leakey is now focused on funding  the research institute at Turkana, the Turkana Basin Institute.   Currently he is establishing NGAREN, a stand-alone, one of its kind memorial and celebration of our origins in Africa.  Richard Leakey has played a key role in efforts to combat elephant and rhino poaching in the early 1990s which continues and, he has actively campaigned for the protection of the Great Apes.  He has become increasingly vocal about the threats to biodiversity arising from global climate change and the human population growth.    Richard Leakey is a Kenyan, resides in Nairobi but travels widely to promote his concerns and interests.  He has published widely and participated in many documentaries.