General Sessions

The 2018 AZA Annual Conference brings three exciting General Sessions, including the Honors & Awards Lunch to celebrate excellence in the zoo and aquarium community.  
Tuesday, September 25
Opening General Session

AZA President & CEO Dan Ashe will welcome delegates to Seattle and the AZA Annual Conference. He’ll be joined by the Chair of the AZA Board of Directors, Jim Breheny, of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Bronx Zoo. Jim welcomes guest speaker and WCS colleague, Dr. Ullas Karanth.

Originally trained as an engineer, K. Ullas Karanth, changed careers to pursue his passion for wildlife, obtaining a Master’s degree from the University of Florida, USA (1988) and a Doctorate from Mangalore University, India (1993). Joining Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in 1988, he built its India Program over the next 30 years. He currently serves as Director for Science-Asia, for WCS, while being an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida and National Centre Biological Sciences, India.

Dr. Karanth has conducted long-term research on the ecology of tigers, other predators and their prey in India and other parts of Asia. His areas of expertise include large carnivore ecology and modeling of animal populations as well as conservation biology and policy. He has published over 120 scientific papers in prestigious scientific journals including Science, PNAS-USA, J. Royal Society, Ecology, J. Applied Ecology, J. Animal Ecology, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Conservation Biology, Biological Conservation, PLOS Biology, PLOSone etc., as well as numerous popular articles.

Ullas Karanth serves on the IUCN/SSC specialist groups on Cats, Elephants, Wild Cattle and Small Carnivores and has earlier served as a member of the Indian Government’s Forest Advisory Committee, National Tiger Conservation Authority and Governing Council of the Wildlife Institute of India. He has been active in the conservation arena for four decades, advising several conservation advocacy groups in India. His work has been extensively featured in world’s media including Nature, New York Times, Time Magazine, National Geographic, BBC, CNN, Discovery and Animal Planet.

In recognition of his contributions wildlife conservation, Dr. Karanth won the Sierra Club’s EarthCare award (2006), World Wildlife Funds’s J. Paul Gety award (2007) and was elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences (2008). He was conferred the high civilian Honor Padmashree by the President of India in 2012.
Wednesday, September 26
General Session

The AZA Annual Conference continues on Wednesday with the Chair’s Service Awards and the Accreditation Report. AZA welcomes local-Seattle native, Sally Jewell.

As a business executive and public servant serving as U.S. Secretary of the Interior under President Obama, Sally Jewell focused her career on supporting a robust economy coupled with long-term sustainability of our natural world and its diverse people.  

During her tenure as Interior Secretary, Jewell was recognized for taking the long-view, using a science-based, landscape-level, collaborative approach to natural resources management. 

She and her capable team were deeply engaged in rebuilding a trusting, nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous communities in the U.S.  They championed the importance of science and sharing data to better understand our Earth’s systems; supported development of commercial-scale renewable energy on public lands and waters; encouraged investments for more sustainable use of water in the West; and worked with Congress, President Obama and his team on long-term conservation of our nation’s most vulnerable and irreplaceable natural, cultural and historic treasures.  

Throughout her career, Jewell has been committed to connecting people to nature, particularly youth.  At Interior, she and her team championed efforts to create a continuum of engagement that encouraged tens of millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work on public lands.  

Prior to serving on President Obama’s cabinet, Jewell was President and CEO of REI, a $2.6 billion retailer dedicated to facilitating outdoor adventures.  She previously served 19 years in commercial banking across a wide-range of industries, and began her career as an engineer in the energy sector.   Throughout her adult life, she has been active in governance and board leadership for corporations and non-profit organizations, including serving as a Regent of the University of Washington where she is currently a Distinguished Fellow in the College of the Environment.
Wednesday, September 26
Honors & Awards Lunch

Enjoy lunch while AZA honors excellence in the profession. Prestigious awards will be presented, along with many other honors presented by the AZA Honors & Awards Committee. The incoming and outgoing AZA Board of Directors and Ethics Board Members will be recognized for their leadership. Incoming Chair of the Board, Peggy Sloan, Director, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, will also address attendees.

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