Diane Skinner Award for the
Unsung Hero in Conservation
In loving memory of Diane Skinner, we have partnered with the African Leadership University’s School of Wildlife Conservation to honour her memory and her legacy she left to the world.
Africa’s conservation community has lost one of its leading lights. Diane Skinner, the Executive Director of the Painted Wolf Foundation, succumbed to cancer on 10 August 2022. Although only 41, Diane leaves behind a stellar legacy of global efforts to conserve not only painted wolves, but also chimpanzees, elephants, rhinos, pangolins and other charismatic fauna in Africa
There are many individuals across Africa who work tirelessly to conserve the Continent’s incredible flora, fauna and landscapes and find ways to support the people who coexist in this wilderness environment. Many do this for what they love and not to promote themselves.
The Diane Skinner Award for the Unsung Hero in Conservation seeks to recognise those individuals and give the world the opportunity to say thank you. This will be an annual event to honour Diane’s memory as she exemplified this type of conservationist. It is sponsored jointly by the Painted Wolf Foundation and the African Leadership University.
A candidate needs to be nominated by a colleague online (one nomination per organisation/person) and we will create a shortlist to find the winning candidate.
The winning candidate will be invited to Kigali, Rwanda to attend the African Leadership University School of African Wildlife, Business of Conservation Conference at the end of August 2023. Their flights and accommodation will be covered, and they will be presented the award on stage at the end of the conference.
Both the African Leadership University and the Painted Wolf Foundation intend to maximise publicity on this award to raise the profile of the winner and some of the candidates as well as the organisations they work for.
“Diane will be remembered by many, as during her years on earth she touched many
lives and made this a better world for people, animals, and the environment.”
Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE
Diane Skinner Award – Unsung Hero in Conservation
The Diane Skinner Award for the Unsung Hero in Conservation seeks to recognise those individuals and give the world the opportunity to say thank you. This will be an annual event to honour Diane’s memory as she exemplified this type of conservationist.
Born in Harare in 1980, Diane Skinner was a respected leading light in African conservation, who sadly succumbed to cancer last year at only 41 years old. Diane leaves behind a stellar legacy of global efforts to conserve painted wolves, chimpanzees, elephants, rhinos, pangolins and other charismatic fauna in Africa.
Through a long body of work addressing international policy, community conservation and NGO interventions, Diane continually navigated the delicate, ever-fraught balance of human/ wildlife conflict, always striving for those win-win solutions that safeguard endangered species but also benefit local community needs.
A proud Zimbabwean, Diane graduated summa cum laude from Denison University, Ohio to commence her career with the Jane Goodall Institute in 2003 in Washington DC, before getting a Masters in Science, Society and Development with distinction at the University of Sussex.
Moving to Kenya in 2008, Diane managed IUCN’s African Elephant Specialist Group, co-ordinating elephant conservation across the continent and co-authored the last comprehensive African Elephant Status Report in 2016.
She returned to Zimbabwe to become a highly sought after conservation consultant before becoming a co-founder of the Painted Wolf Foundation and the lead author on the publication, Securing the Future of the Painted Wolf.
Diane’s life was cut short too early, but this award hopes to identify those like Diane, who dedicate their lives to achieving conservation results, but always hide their bright lights under a bushel.