Karol Boudreaux Speaks at Laurel Springs Symposium
Laurel Springs School welcomes Karol Boudreaux as the January speaker in our series of symposia, “Meetings with Remarkable Men & Women.” Ms. Boudreaux is the Africa Land Tenure Specialist in the Land Tenure and Property Rights Division at USAID. Her work supports improvements to the land tenure and property rights of people around the world, with a strong focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Her research concentrates on property and land tenure systems, natural resource management, and varieties of entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. Karol has conducted field research in ten African countries and has published more than 30 articles, policy papers, and book chapters as well as a monograph on property rights. Our symposia series allows for real-time interaction between online students and our guests, who are leaders in their fields.
Our January Symposium
Our January symposium topic will explore issues of community-based natural resource management in Namibia, with a focus on strengthening communities and their environment. Namibia was unjustly governed by the apartheid government in South Africa for decades until its independence in 1990. After independence, the new government decided to provide local black communities with a right that white farmers had enjoyed for years: the legal right to manage and benefit from the use of the country’s impressive wildlife, which includes elephant, zebra, wildebeest, leopard and warthogs. Since 1996, when this program began, local people (with support from Namibian government, NGOs, and the international donor community) have created more than 60 community conservancies. Because they now hold very strong rights to manage and benefit from the wildlife, local people protect rather than poach animals. They also protect the areas where wildlife live and graze, including water sources. Local people work with private sector investors to build tourist lodges so that visitors can enjoy the wildlife. They are trained to operate and manage these lodges and they earn income from the tourism. The income they earn helps communities improve schools, buy ambulances, and take care of their elders. After more than 15 years, the Namibia program is generating millions of dollars for local communities and at the same time is helping animal populations thrive. It is widely considered to be the world’s leading model of effective community management of valuable natural resources.
Before joining USAID, Karol Boudreaux taught at the George Mason University School of Law (previously Assistant Dean of the School) and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at GMU. Karol also served as a member of the Working Group on Property Rights of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor. Her JD is from the University of Virginia, where she concentrated on international law.