A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an International Fellow of the Explorers’ Club of America, John Hare has lectured to the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, the United Nations, the Great Britain-China Centre, the Grocers Livery Company, the Zoological Society of London, the Scientific Exploration Society, Exxon and Shell. He has lectured in the USA to the National Geographic Society, The Smithsonian, the American Museum of Natural History, the Explorers ‘ Club, the Reform Club, the Travellers’ Club, the China Institute, to Societies in Hong Kong, China and Kenya and to over 200 schools and colleges. He has also lectured aboard the Queen Mary 2 and at the Hay-on-Wye, Buxton, Canterbury and Edinburgh Literary Festivals.
Small snippet from John Hare’s lecture on the Mysteries of Lop Nur
Lecture 1: The 1999, 2005 and 2011 wild camel surveys in the Gobi desert of China illustrated with 60 colour slides/Powerpoint – 50 minutes
The 1999 survey traversed some hitherto unexplored sand dunes near the northern Tibet escarpment that led John Hare into two undiscovered and unmapped valleys and a fresh water spring that held pockets of wildlife that had no fear of man. In addition to observing 169 critically endangered wild camels, the expedition also saw the Tibetan ass, the Argali wild sheep, wolves and bears. The expeditions provided many adventures, including an encounter with wolves and a sand storm. The survey resulted in the establishment of the Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve in the former Chinese nuclear test area to protect the wild camel.
In November 2005, on a return visit, John Hare found that illegal miners had entered the area and in their search for gold, poisoned the spring and the vegetation with potassium cyanide and shot the wildlife. However, the Chinese government has responded by cleaning up the area and renewed its determination to combat illegal mining.
In 2011, another survey made by John Hare with Kazakhs and a Chinese scientist on domestic camels revealed that the Chinese Government had
cleaned up the spring at Kum Su and that wild camels and other endangered species were returning to the spring. The expedition saw another 126 wild camels.
Lecture 2: The Mysteries of Lop Nur 50 colour slides/Powerpoint – 50 minutes
In 1905 the Swedish explorer Sven Hedin discovered intriguing mummified figures dating from 1500 BC near the ancient city of Lou Lan on the middle Silk Road. John Hare reached Lou Lan from the east in 1996, after a hazardous adventure and became the first person in recorded history to do so. He discovered an outpost of Lou Lan called Tu-ying where cloth and felt dating from 1000 BC was preserved in remarkable condition. The weave of this cloth, similar to that used to wrap up the Hedin mummies, points to a similarity to the weave of ancient cloth found in Salzburg, Germany. It is possible that the mummified figures, with their striking Caucasian features might be Celts who came to western China during successive waves of migration. Slides show the city, the mummies and the cloth and John Hare speculates on what is for the Chinese, a highly political subject. Details of the 2005 expedition and the discovery of highly toxic potassium cyanide are also given.
Lecture 3: Around Lake Turkana in Kenya with camels 50 colour slides/Powerpoint – 50 minutes
This expedition was completed in April/May 2006 and it is thought to be the first time that camels have traveled completely around Lake Turkana. The barrier has, in the past, been the Omo River, which flows out of Ethiopia and into the lake. This wide and fast flowing river was crossed by strapping the camels to the side of a boat and ferrying them across one by one. There was a potentially disastrous meeting with bandits armed with Kalashnikovs and a crossing of the little known and intimidating larva strewn, Lorian Plateau‚ all in temperatures that averaged 42 degrees Celsius. There are stunning photographs of Lake Turkana taken from many vantage points. The expedition was undertaken to raise awareness for the critically endangered wild camel and was highly successful in doing so.
Lecture 4: Across the Sahara. Travels on a camel from Lake Chad to Tripoli 50 colour slides/Powerpoint – 50 minutes.
In the winter months of 2001/2002, John Hare made a journey with camels from Lake Chad in Nigeria to Tripoli in Libya. A Chinese Professor and a Kenyan camel farmer accompanied him. The journey took three and a half months and covered 1462 miles. There were many adventures and discoveries en route, including rock art over 2500 years old that had not previously been found. The journey was undertaken along an ancient camel route, formerly strewn with the bones of captured slaves, and it was the first time in 100 years that the journey had been made in its entirety. The lecture shows pictures of the Libyan desert that had been out-of-bounds to foreigners for over 50 years.
Lecture 5: Last Man In‚ revisiting a vanished Nigeria 35 black and white photos on CD and a DVD – 50 minutes
John Hare was the very last recruit into Her Majesty‚ Overseas Administrative Service in Northern Nigeria. In this fascinating talk he explains the duties of a District Officer and the responsibilities‚ sometimes of life and death‚ placed on a young officer in his twenties.
Graphic examples are given of tribal conflict in pre-independent Nigeria and there are fascinating photographs of the magnificent independence Durbar. Compelling black and white images which have won high acclaim show scenes which will never be able to be photographed again‚ because the peoples dress and their tribal customs have disappeared forever.
Lecture 6: The Historical Background to BOKO HARAM 38 black and white photos – 50 minutes
Northern Nigeria and Boko Haram fifty years after Independence
Since the 1804 jihad of Usuman dan Fodio, a Fulani and a Sunni of the Maliki school of Law, which aimed to redress the grievances of the Hausa peasantry in the Hausa tribal Emirates in the northern region of Nigeria, the region has been staunchly Muslim. Dan Fodio’s jihad replaced the corrupt and inefficient Hausa rulers with Fulani Emirs who in the main were Islamic scholars.
However, in the remote north-east of Northern Nigeria lived numerous tribes who practiced animist religions. These people, after the establishment of dan Fodio’s caliphate, were regularly raided for slaves by Kanuri and Fulani tribesmen and those caught were forcibly converted to Islam. They were also supplied as slaves to the Arabs who frequently crossed the Sahara Desert from North Africa on slave-raiding expeditions. Hare followed a major slave route by camel from Lake Chad to Tripoli in 2002.
Hare, who was the last District Officer to be recruited in Northern Nigeria by the British Government before independence, worked in this remote north-eastern area for almost seven years. His District covered, Madagali, Michika, Sukur and Bazza, all areas now occupied by Boko Haram and which border Gwoza where the late chief has recently been killed. He had access to historical records, especially the diary of a noted slave raider, Hamman Yaji and witnessed the deteriorating relationships between the Muslims and these animists, many of whom had by this time been converted to Christianity by Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries.
Hare explains from personal knowledge, how Boko Haram and the clash between Islam and Christianity in Northern Nigeria started and how it has developed into the current bloody conflict. Hare has the historical prospective on this modern conflict. He gives details of events, which occurred prior to and during his time in the north, and relate how Boko Haram has linked up with fundamentalist Islamic groups currently active in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.
His 50 minute talk is illustrated with fascinating photographs, showing both the people and their situation during the years he worked both for the British and Northern Nigerian governments – from 1957 to 1964.