The Premiere Lecture
Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE
Founder, The Jane Goodall Institute
UN Messenger of Peace
Sowing Seeds of Hope
October 1 | 7PM | Wright Auditorium
Cosponsored by ECU’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies, Division of Health Sciences and Academic Affairs.
Dr. Jane Goodall is widely recognized as the world’s leading expert on chimpanzee behavior. Born and raised in London, Goodall’s early fascination with Africa led her to travel to Kenya where she found work as a research assistant for the noted paleontologist, Dr. Louis Leakey. Leakey encouraged Goodall to study chimpanzees, thinking that more nuanced understandings of their behavior would enhance understandings of human evolutionary development. After finishing a Ph.D. at Cambridge University, Goodall continued her research in the Gombe Stream area, spending the next 45 years observing and recording patterns of chimpanzee behavior.
Goodall’s research has brought to light unrecognized similarities between humans and chimpanzees, especially those associated with emotional expression, rational decision-making, conceptual intelligence, competitive social behavior, and family relationships. In revealing the use of tools among chimpanzees, Goodall’s research has questioned widely held beliefs regarding that supposedly unique characteristic of humans. Goodall also has suggested that chimpanzees are more given to aggressive and even violent behavior than earlier imagined. These findings and others were published in her monumental work, The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986).
In 1977, she founded the Jane Goodall Institute to support continued field research in Tanzania. She has also founded a “Roots and Shoots” program for young people interested in conservation of natural resources. The Goodall Institute’s Center for Primate Studies, including its extensive archive of handwritten notes, photographs, and other records Goodall produced during decades of research in Tanzania, is now housed at Duke University, giving her work an important American base. Goodall’s “first-name” relationships with chimpanzees prompted some to challenge her methodology for its alleged lack of objectivity. Nevertheless her admirers remain legion and the honors conferred upon her, myriad. In 2004, Goodall was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 2002, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, citing Goodall’s “dedication to what is best in mankind,” named her a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In additional to dozens of prizes and awards, Goodall has been appointed a member of the French Legion of Honor, and awarded the Medal of Tanzania and the prestigious Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences. Goodall is the recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, the Gandhi-King Award for Nonviolence, and the Spanish Prince of Asturias Award. Goodall has also received numerous honorary doctorates from universities in North American, Europe, and Asia.