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Emmanuel de Merode
Director, Virunga National Park

Emmanuel de Merode was born in North Africa and spent his childhood in Kenya, where he developed a passion for the savannas and mountains of East Africa. He arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the early 90s to study the bush meat trade. In 2008, he was appointed director and chief warden of Virunga National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site in eastern Congo, African’s oldest national park and home to around a third of the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas. Under Emmanuel’s leadership, Virunga National Park has embarked on an ambitious program known as the Virunga Alliance – with the aim to create 100,000 jobs over ten years by developing the sectors of tourism, clean energy and agricultural transformation in order to reduce poverty and promote peace in the region. Emmanuel is a certified pilot and has PhD in Anthropology from University College in London.


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