Monday, 26 May 2014

Tim Butcher awarded the Society's Mungo Park medal

The RSGS was delighted to present Tim Butcher with the Mungo Park medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to geographical knowledge through exploration and work of a practical nature of benefit to humanity in potentially hazardous physical and social environments.  Butcher received his award from Mike Robinson and Professor Roger Crofts following a fascinating talk about the subject of his new book, The Trigger, at Stirling University's Logie Lecture Theatre on Thursday 22nd May. 

First awarded to Captain Angus Buchanan in 1930 for his crossing of the Sahara, the Mungo Park medal has a rich history of being presented to some of Britain’s most highly regarded journalists, including Michael Buerk, Kate Adie and John Simpson.

On the award, Tim Butcher said "I am enormously proud to have joined the ranks of former medalists, not east Great Uncle Eric Shipton."  Eric Shipton received the Society's Livingstone Medal in 1951.

Tim Butcher

Tim Butcher worked for The Daily Telegraph between 1990 and 2009, holding a series of positions including leader writer, war correspondent, Africa Bureau Chief and Middle East Correspondent.   After being sent to cover Africa in 2000, he decided to recreate H.M. Stanley’s trans-Africa expedition solo. Four years later he travelled through the Democratic Republic of Congo overland in an assortment of vessels including a motorbike and a dugout canoe, an experience documented in his number 1 bestselling book Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart

Butcher's second major work, Chasing the Devil: The Search for Africa’s Fighting Spirit, describes a 350 mile trek through Sierra Leone and Liberia following a trail blazed by Graham Greene.  Tim travelled in these countries at difficult times and under constant threat, he even faced a personal death threat from Charles Taylor.

Mungo Park Medal

In his time at The Daily Telegraph, Butcher specialised in covering awkward places at the most difficult times: Kurdistan under attack in 1991 by Saddam Hussein, Sarajevo during the Bosnian War of the 1990s, the Allied attack on Iraq in 2003, Israel's 2006 clash with Hizbollah in southern Lebanon among other crises. His work has helped to shed lights on the real lives of the simple everyday people who live in war zones, and to expose the true stories of conflicts around the world.

His journeys to research his new book, The Trigger: The Assassin that Brought the World to War, took him back to Bosnia, where he had previously covered the War of the 1990s.  He followed in the footsteps of Gavrilo Princip, the young Serb who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Tim Butcher's latest book, The Trigger

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