FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Laramie, WY-July 21, 2020 Mark Jenkins, critically acclaimed author and internationally recognized journalist joined Wyoming Humanities as their inaugural Resident Scholar in July. A contributing writer for National Geographic Magazine and former Writer-in-Residence at the University of Wyoming, Jenkins has brought a humanities perspective to geopolitics, the environment, and adventure for numerous national and international publications, including The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, The Washington Post, Virginia Quarterly Review, Reader's Digest, Playboy, National Geographic, and Outside. Jenkins has been interviewed on Anderson Cooper 360, Good Morning America, CNN, PBS, BBC and NPR, as well as spoken on countless radio programs and his stories have been extensively anthologized. He is also the author of four popular and well-reviewed 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.”
Listen to Mark discuss the importance of humanities in Wyoming, more now than ever:
Hear Mark's optimism for the future with the humanities:
Jenkins’ position is part of Wyoming Humanities’ recently announced initiative, Wyoming Crossroads. This initiative will harness the power and creativity of Wyoming’s humanities and cultural arts network to help the state address the social and economic challenges posed by the dire downturn in Wyoming’s energy industry that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We need the public humanities in Wyoming now more than ever,” said Shannon Smith, CEO of Wyoming Humanities. “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. “Our organization is preparing to help Wyoming have the grassroots conversations that we believe are necessary to build positive outcomes for our future,” said Rev. Dr. Bernadine Craft, former state senator from Rock Springs and chair of Wyoming Humanities board of directors. “We believe that the humanities and the arts can help us better understand our current situation through creative explorations of contemporary issues and discussions about the Wyoming we want. A global explorer and engaging writer like Mark will foster these important dialogues.”
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.” Jenkins will continue his global adventures and national writing as the pandemic and his work at Wyoming Humanities allows. “The impact of writers, artists, and cultural workers on rural communities goes beyond their significant contributions to Wyoming’s monetary economy; they strengthen our society by bringing us closer,” said CEO Smith, “We are thrilled to have Mark Jenkins join our team as we all work together to define Wyoming’s future.”
Wyoming Humanities is the Wyoming affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is one of 55 state humanities councils. Conceived by a group of University of Wyoming leaders in 1970 and approved by the NEH in 1971, Wyoming Humanities is the oldest state humanities council. Their mission is to use the public humanities to strengthen Wyoming’s democracy, expand the Wyoming narrative, and promote engaged communities. Wyoming Humanities is an independent nonprofit funded by the NEH, a state legislative appropriation, corporate and foundation grants, and private donations. Wyoming Humanities is headquartered in Laramie, WY with an office in Jackson’s Center for the Arts. To learn more about Wyoming Humanities, visit www.thinkwy.org.