WHAT: Members of the media are invited to Virginia Tech to cover a visit by Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi. Masisi’s visit to Virginia Tech is believed to be the first by an international head of state.  

Masisi, who took office in 2018, became connected to Virginia Tech through the work of Professor Kathleen Alexander’s research program at the Centre for Conservation of African Resources: Animals, Communities, and Land Use, a nongovernmental organization in northern Botswana she co-founded in 2001.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 21, 2023

10:00 - 10:10 a.m. - Botswana President Masisi arrives for meet & greet with President Sands

Location: Outside Burruss Hall - Please arrive by 9:30 a.m. for setup

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - Campus Presentation: “Merging Conservation, Democracy, and Sustainable Development in Botswana”

Location: Commonwealth Ballroom, Squires Student Center

*** Media interviews if time allows after ***

WHO:  Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi 

             President Tim Sands

             Professor Kathy Alexander

Media must RSVP by Friday, March 17 at 9 a.m. to Margaret Ashburn in the media relations office at mkashburn@vt.edu or 540-529-0814.

BACKGROUND: With more than 40 percent of its land area dedicated to wildlife management and the largest elephant population in the world, Botswana remains a haven for wildlife. Under President Masisi’s leadership, increased focus has been directed at economic empowerment of communities and strengthening of conservation and biodiversity stewardship across the nation.  

Masisi has shown support for the on-the-ground integrated research and outreach conducted by Alexander, a professor of wildlife in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, and a commitment to assisting communities and ensuring that wildlife and ecosystems are managed sustainably.

In 2019, the president and first lady Neo Masisi toured CARACAL’s 42-acre site and met with Professor Alexander and her research team to discuss the program’s focus on improving health outcomes and livelihoods of communities and sustainably managing the natural ecosystems on which they depend.

Botswana president and first lady visit Centre for Conservation of African Resources

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