Honorary Directors
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Honorary Directors

Grand Circle Foundation's Honorary Directors have traveled the globe, summited the world's tallest mountains, led museums and universities, and received top honors in their fields. We are honored to benefit from the great example of leadership set by these exceptional men and women who serve or have served as our mentors. They also recommend and advise us on worthwhile projects.

Lech Walesa

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Lech Walesa was the courageous founder of the Solidarity movement that led Poland out of Communism and inspired other revolutions of Central Europe in 1978. He later served as President of Poland for five years and was more recently named one of the most influential people of the 20th century by Time magazine. His courage, determination, and willingness to take huge risks to achieve his vision of freedom for his people serve as an example to us all.

Barbara Washburn

A founding member of the Foundation's Board of Directors together with her husband Bradford, Barbara Washburn continues to carry on the pioneering spirit and dedication to education the couple shared. The first woman to summit Mt. McKinley, Mrs. Washburn joined her husband to lead mapping and photographic expeditions that included Mt. McKinley, the Grand Canyon, Mt. Everest, and the Matterhorn. She is also a former teacher and member of many charitable and educational groups dedicated to children. She is the inspiration for Grand Circle Foundation's Washburn Award, which honors a traveler for his or her personal commitment to giving back to the community.

Dr. Robert Muller

Belgian-born Dr. Robert Muller has devoted his career to bringing peace to the world. Over his 40-year career at the United Nations, he focused his energies on this issue and rose to become the UN's Assistant Secretary General. He is also the recipient of the International Albert Schweitzer Prize for the Humanities, which is awarded to those whose extraordinary contributions to humanity and the environment help to advance the cause of humanitarianism.

Kazimierz Smolen

Notorious during World War II as the Nazis' largest concentration camp, Poland's Auschwitz-Birkenau camp saw the deaths of an estimated 4 million Jews. Among those who survived its horrors was Kazimierz Smolen, who survived more than four years at the camp and was also a World War II resistance fighter. He later returned to Auschwitz-Birkenau to serve as director of the State Museum there. He has devoted his life to educating future generations about the Holocaust.

Lady June HillaryJune Hillary

A longtime friend of Grand Circle Foundation along with her late husband, Sir Edmund Hillary, Lady June Hillary shared the great mountaineer's passion for aiding the Sherpa people of the Himalayas. Since Sir Edmund's passing, Lady June has assumed the role of Chairman of the Himalayan Trust, and continues the legacy of humanitarianism in Nepal that her husband began in the 1960s.

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Ree SheckRee Sheck

Writer and conservationist Ree Sheck moved from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Costa Rica in 1990 in order to work full time in rain forest conservation. She then wrote Costa Rica, a Natural Destination, the first book to introduce the concept of nature travel in Costa Rica-and as the concept popularized, she worked fervently to protect the delicate beauty of the nation she sought to promote. She served as information director for the Monteverde Conservation League, an internationally recognized grassroots organization, and started a foundation that has supported schools in 15 communities.

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Willy ChambuloWilly Chambulo

As the owner and managing director of Tanzania's successful Kibo Guides Safaris, Willy Chambulo has never forgotten his humble beginningsand his beloved country reaps the benefits of his success. On the grounds of his safari lodges, he plants bountiful farmlands; he staffs his operations with local community members whenever possible to help stimulate the economy; and he is a strong advocate for the village of Karatu, which is also supported by Grand Circle Foundation. An unforgettable character with a passion for his homeland and Maasai heritage, Willy is a shining example of an entrepreneur who chose generosity over greedand he is a treasured friend of Grand Circle Foundation.

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Angeles ArrienAngela

Angeles Arrien is the President of the Foundation for Cross-Cultural Education and Research. Through her diverse roles as an anthropologist, author, educator, and business consultant, she maintains that certain values and beliefs transcend cultural barriers and encompass all of humanity. Her work has been embraced by medical professionals, academics, and corporationsproof that there are, indeed, universal wisdoms that guide us all.

In memoriam: Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008)

One of the Foundation's most inspirational leaders, greatest heroes, and dearest friends, Sir Edmund Hillary was the first person to summit Mount Everest along with his Sherpa guide and friend, Tenzing Norgay. But it wasn't his mountaineering accomplishment that mattered most to him. Rather, it was his work on behalf of the Sherpa people of Nepal, including the founding of the Himalayan Trust.

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In memoriam: Bradford Washburn (1910-2007)

An accomplished mountaineer, photographer, cartographer, and Director of Boston's Museum of Science for 40 years, Bradford Washburn was more than an advisor to Grand Circle Foundation; he was a dedicated friend. Together with his wife, Barbara, he led expeditions that advanced our understanding of the world's great mountain ranges. We were enriched by his spirit of adventure, his curiosity, his passion, and his pure wonder of the world.

In memoriam: Dr. Rodrigo Carazo (1926-2009)

Teaching peace has always been a key part of the mission of Dr. Rodrigo Carazo, former president of Costa Rica, founder of the International University for Peace, and a lifetime proponent of literacy in his country. A distinguished statesman and strong advocate for peace, he has won numerous awards and honorary degrees. Dr. Carazo has also been instrumental in the development of our World Classroom initiative to educate the next generation of global citizens.

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