Hidden in the heart of the desert mountains of the Sinai Peninsula is the oldest continuously operating Christian monastery in the world, St. Catherine’s. It was built in 565 A.D. at the site where, according to the Old Testament, Moses saw the burning bush—at the base of Mt. Sinai on which Moses received the Ten Commandments.
In November 2017, Mark Jenkins, critically acclaimed and internationally recognized National Geographic writer and senior fellow with the University of Wyoming’s (UW) Center for Global Studies, led a four-person team of Wyoming climbers on an expedition to the area. On Wednesday, March 14, Jenkins shares the story of the trip in Camels, Climbing, and St. Catherine: An Expedition to Egypt.
The free talk, part of the University of Wyoming Center for Global Studies’ “World to Wyoming” lecture series, takes place in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Kuyper Dining Pavilion. Student presentations begin at 6 p.m. Jenkins’s talk follows at 7 p.m.
Despite being Eastern Orthodox, the site where St. Catherine’s stands is holy to not only Christians, but also to Jews and Muslims. Unlike other parts of the Middle East, Christians and Muslims in the area have been living and working together in harmony for centuries. Jenkins promises a presentation “about an epic expedition to climb big rocks in a remote land; about Christian monks and Bedouin nomads; and about a place where tolerance is more powerful than terrorism.”
Jenkins covers geopolitics and adventure for National Geographic. His writing has won numerous awards, including the Overseas Press Club Ross Award for “The Healing Fields,” his story about landmines in Cambodia, as well as a National Magazine Award for photojournalism with colleague Brent Stirton, for “Who Murdered the Mountain Gorillas.” Jenkins is the author of four books, and his work has appeared in dozens of national and international magazines. He has his bachelor of arts in Philosophy and a master of science in Geography from the University of Wyoming.
The “What in the World?” student presentations that begin at 6 p.m. were developed from the students’ international fieldwork. Marco Polo, who traveled to The Hague to investigate Royal Dutch Shell’s decision-making on the future of fuels and renewable energy, presents Royal Dutch Shell and the Energy-Climate Challenge. Misty Springer’s work explored the issue of human trafficking, traditional gender roles, and policy formation in the Republic of Georgia; she presents Sex Trafficking at a Crossroads in the Republic of Georgia.
Northwest College in Powell hosts Jenkins on March 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Building Conference Area. Additional dates and locations include March 6/Sheridan College; March 7/Gillette College; and March 13/National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson. For more information and program times, visit bit.ly/jenkinsegyptexpedition.
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s Facebook page.
Image: World-traveling and internationally known journalist Mark Jenkins, pictured here climbing, speaks about his Egypt expedition on March 14 at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Photo by Kyle Duba.