Edwin Bernbaum, Ph.D., is a lecturer, author, and scholar of comparative religion and mythology. His book Sacred Mountains of the World (University of California Press) won the Commonwealth Club of California's gold medal for best work of nonfiction and the Giuseppe Mazzotti Special Jury Award in Italy for literature of mountaineering, exploration, and the environment. He is also the author of The Way to Shambhala (Anchor Doubleday), a study of Tibetan myths and legends of hidden valleys resembling the fictional Shangri-La of the novel Lost Horizon. He holds a B.A. in mathematics from Harvard College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Asian Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. He also did graduate work at Harvard in social psychology and social anthropology.Edwin Bernbaum has been a frequent lecturer on the environment, culture, and mountains to audiences such as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History. He has also done research for the National Geographic Expeditions Council on the links between Mount Olympus and other sacred mountains in Greece and ancient Greek mythology, archeology, and the original Olympics. His articles and photographs have appeared in numerous publications, and a photographic exhibit of his based on his book Sacred Mountains of the World was one of the more popular exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Co-chair of the Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas of the World Commission on Protected Areas of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and Senior Fellow at The Mountain Institute, Edwin Bernbaum works on developing ways of taking the cultural and spiritual significance of the natural environment into account in conservation programs in order to make them more sustainable. He has worked on a project at Badrinath, the major Hindu pilgrimage shrine in the Indian Himalayas, in which priests and scientists encouraged pilgrims to replant trees for reasons that come out of their own religious and cultural traditions. As Director of the Sacred Mountains Program at The Mountain Institute, he initiated projects to develop interpretive and educational materials and activities for national parks - such as Yosemite, Hawai’i Volcanoes, and Great Smoky Mountains - based on the evocative spiritual and cultural significance of features of the natural environment in American, Native American, Native Hawaiian, and other cultures around the world. He also started a project that used the cultural values of sacred sites in Central Asia as a basis for developing conservation programs and sustainable livelihoods in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. He is currently working with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) on a project to nominate Mount Kailas in Tibet, the most sacred mountain in the world for over a billion people, and the area around pilgrimage routes leading to it from India and Nepal as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. A past president of the Harvard Mountaineering Club, Edwin Bernbaum instructed at the Colorado Outward Bound School and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal. He has traveled, climbed, and done research throughout the world and has led treks and study tours in Nepal, Tibet, China, India, Pakistan, and Bhutan. He designed and has co-led leadership seminar treks to Mt. Everest for mid-career business graduates of various programs at the Wharton School and has done leadership programs in the United States for the Wharton Executive Education Program. He is featured in “Beyond the Mountaintops: Extraordinary Mountaineers, Extraordinary People,” an exhibit at the American Mountaineering Museum on eight climbers who have pioneered advances in climbing and humankind.
View Speaker Sessions
- B07: Back to the Future: Necessary Evolution Back to Traditional Community Conservation: Part 1
- C05: Back to the Future: Necessary Evolution Back to Traditional Community Conservation: Part 2
October 27, 2017
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
October 27, 2017
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM