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Richard Wiese

Richard Wiese

President Emeritus & EC50 Founder


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50 people changing the world the world needs to know about

meet richard

Richard Wiese is the former president of The Explorers Club, host and executive producer of the Emmy-winning PBS TV series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese, and the founder of EC50.

Since he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro at age 11, Richard Wiese has circled the globe, capturing powerful images and living one adventure after another—from traveling with Bedouins in Africa to cross-country skiing to the North Pole.  In 2002, as a respected field scientist, Richard became the youngest president in the history of The Explorers Club. Richard’s philosophy and the premise of Born to Explore is as much about discovery of the natural world as it is about encouraging a positive understanding of the many distinctive cultures on earth. Since Born to Explore premiered in 2011, it has won two Daytime Emmy® Awards and has earned 13 Emmy® nominations, as well as 35 Telly Awards, 4 Parents’ Choice Awards and a CINE Golden Eagle. Richard has received numerous other honors, including a Genesis Award, an Associated Press Folio Award, a Golden Halo Award and the 2012 Walter Cronkite Award for his contributions to journalism and exploration. He is the author of Born to Explore: How To Be A Backyard Adventurer. He was honored at the 2005 Boy Scout National Jamboree where he addressed 90,000 people and had a camp named after him. Richard is also a devoted husband and father of three children and resides in Connecticut with his wife, Nicci.

50 people changing the world the world needs to know about
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Location USA

Navigating Uncharted Waters: The EC50’s Expanding Horizon

As the Explorers Club 50 (EC50) sails into its fourth year, we stand at a significant crossroads in the history of exploration. This juncture offers us a critical moment for reflection as we forge new routes forward; routes that lead to a future where discovery and scientific inquiry are reimagined. The essence of this kind of exploration is a communal endeavor, and I am proud of our collective achievements through the EC50. This program thrives, not as a monument to individual glory, but, as a beacon for the power we have when we stand together, celebrate the immeasurable value of diverse perspectives, and innovate collaboratively.

Embracing Our Collective Journey: Over the years, the EC50 has embarked on a transformative odyssey, breaking away from the mirrors of self-reflection and embracing a world rich with unsung stories and their heroes. We’ve rewritten the very definition of what it means to be an explorer, uplifting those who interpret the world with trailblazing perspectives. While some embark on physical voyages or intellectual pursuits, others commit to creative journeys and artistic endeavors. We’ve moved beyond the archetypal adventurer, and our steadfast mission remains to transform exploration and enrich our knowledge of the world around us.

Integrating Technology and Interdisciplinary Insights: Our continued progress is inextricably linked to technological innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration. The EC50 embraces these developments with judicious optimism and ensures these means are used to strengthen our understanding of the planet. The EC50 Class of 2024 represents just that: interdisciplinary changemakers that unite across fields of expertise to tackle our global community’s intricate challenges.

Forging Global Partnerships: Each year enhances the EC50’s ability to establish meaningful global partnerships. These collaborations extend our reach and deepen our impact, both globally and locally, from the floor of the UN to the shores of small island nations. As an inclusive endeavor, the EC50 works tirelessly to see that exploration and science resonate across the broad spectrum of humanity. 

Democratizing Science Communication: As explorers, we are responsible for making science accessible and engaging to all, and this tenet is fundamental to our everyday mission. We harness the power of diverse forms of communication, including the arts and storytelling, as potent mediums to share the wonders of science and the thrill of exploration. Whether it be through indigenous weaving patterns, the lens of a camera, the light beam of a far-off galaxy, or the spoken poetry of a biologist, this class of 50 visionaries democratizes the institutions of science and discovery, inspiring explorers young and old to get out there and ask questions.

Nurturing Future Explorers: As the EC50 grows and looks towards the future, our focus is firmly set on nurturing the next generation of explorers. We are dedicated to creating an environment that fosters curiosity, boldness, and innovation. Our community of honorees is not limited to those who have summited the peaks of their careers; our explorers are college students who have tracked wildlife criminals from their bedrooms, indigenous elders who are passing on disappearing languages, and burgeoning advocates who make sure the voice of their generation has a seat at the table. As we pass on the torch of exploration, we also pass on hope and guidance for those destined to redefine the known boundaries of our world.

Giving a keynote address at the UN
Giving a keynote address at the UN

Acknowledgments: At this juncture, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the friends of the EC50: Meg Ruxton, Richard Garriott, Dan Kobal, Judith Hernstadt, Lesley Ewing, Fjällräven NA, and Perry Ferrara. The support from these patrons and their belief in our mission are what make this endeavor possible day in and day out. Joe Rohde, my EC50 co-chair, whose habit of thinking outside the box and has helped us shape the goals and ambitions of this program for the club.  Brooke Vahos, the new EC50 coordinator, whose dedication and vision are instrumental in steering this initiative into its next phase. Additionally, I express my sincere appreciation to Lacey Flint, one of the original architects of the EC50 program. Together, the contributions of these individuals have been pivotal in shaping the EC50’s journey and will continue to influence its trajectory for decades to come.

In conclusion, as we navigate into the EC50’s fourth year, we do so with humility and genuine expectation. We envision a future where exploration is a collective journey rich in diversity, interconnection, and relentless innovation. Each step forward is a shared stride toward a deeper and more holistic understanding of our world. I am filled with immense pride for our accomplishments and eagerly anticipate the uncharted territories that await us.


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