Georgetown's McDonough School of Business Hosts Classes in Saving the Planet

May 08, 2009 rareplanet

Back row, left to right: Margaret Tabunakawai, Santi "Joy" Saypanya, Gildas Andriamalala, Brent Jenks, Wendy Paulson, Gaana Balbar, Gordon Swartz

Front row, left to right: Dalina Nero, Elaina Todd, d'Shan Maycock, Sanjaa Bolortsetseg, Angkana "Tao" Makvilai

Nine conservation leaders from Madagascar to Mongolia attended classes on Georgetown University's campus this spring to study the art of environmental campaigning. They are part of an international training program led by Arlington, VA-based non-profit Rare (, which supports local conservationists in more than 50 countries as they lead a two-year campaign to change attitudes and behaviors threatening the environment.

Rare provides training in four languages at universities in Mexico, China, Indonesia, and now the U.S. through Georgetown's McDonough School of Business. Participants spend part of the two-year program in the classroom learning about social marketing and civic engagement and the majority of the time back in the field putting theory into practice on real communities. The goal? Reduce illegal logging, stop animal poaching, create new protected areas, and attract more citizens into the global effort to save the planet. Rare CEO and President Brett Jenks is a Georgetown alumnus, earning his MBA from the McDonough School of Business.

The students gathered on March 19 in Georgetown's Riggs Library to discuss their projects and experiences with representatives from conversation groups, the U.S. federal government, embassies, and the business community.

Introducing the Nine "Rare" students and their campaigns:

  • Angkana "Tao" Makvilai (HKK Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand): Protect endangered tigers;
  • Sanjaa Bolortsetseg: (Eastern Steppe, Mongolia): Save the Mongolian gazelle;
  • Santi "Joy" Saypanya (Nam et-Phou Louey NPA, Laos): Protect endangered tigers;
  • Margaret Tabunakawai (Cakaudrove and Macuata, Fiji): Protect marine resources;
  • Gildas Andriamalala (Andavadoaka coast, Madagascar): Protect marine resources;
  • Gaana Balbar (Onon River, Mongolia): Save the giant Taimen fish;
  • Elaina Todd (Guam): Protect marine ecosystem;
  • Dalina Nero (Chuuk Islands, F.S.M.): Protect marine and coral species; an
  • d'Shan Maycock (Abaco Island, Bahamas): Save the spiny lobster.

To learn more about these students and their projects, visit