National Geographic Writer Mark Jenkins Joins Wyoming Humanities Council

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

National Geographic writer, author and photographer Mark Jenkins has joined the Wyoming Humanities Council as its inaugural resident scholar this month.

According to a news release from the organization, Jenkins has brought a humanities perspective to geopolitics. His work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Playboy and the Smithsonian Magazine.

Jenkins’ position is a part of Wyoming Humanities’ recently announced initiative, “Wyoming Crossroads,” which will help the state address the social and economic challenges posed by the downtown in Wyoming’s energy industry through the power and creativity of Wyoming’s humanities and cultural arts network.

“We need the public humanities in Wyoming now more than ever,” said Shannon Smith, CEO of Wyoming Humanities, in the news release.  “Mark will engage communities from one corner of the state to the other, continuing Wyoming Humanities’ dedication to leading the discussion on our state’s current geopolitical issues, diverse heritage and deep traditions.”

Jenkins is also a former writer-in-residence at the University of Wyoming and has written four books.

“I’ve had the great fortune of doing assignments around the world.  Wyoming has trained me well in how to handle extremes,” said Jenkins.  “I look forward to offering a global and scholarly perspective on Wyoming’s identity, sense of community, connection to land, persistence, and ability to manage change.” 

Jenkins will continue his global treks and national writing as the pandemic and his work with the humanities council allows.

Wyoming Humanities’ COO Shawn Reese said he thinks the cultural and creative sector is key to helping Wyoming bounce back after the economic impact of the downturn. 

“Wyoming’s wealth is more than the sum of its minerals and mineral trust fund.  The intellectual, human, social, political, and cultural wealth are critical to Wyoming’s well-being.  Mark will help us explore ideas through statewide engagement and the art of storytelling.  Whether Mark is telling a story about his conversations with the King of Bhutan about the Gross Happiness Index or making connections between Namibian rock art and Wyoming petroglyphs, he helps us understand ourselves through the lens of others.”

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