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Camels, Climbing and Monastery Topics of Mark Jenkins’ Latest Talk in Powell

February 22, 2018
man riding a camel in rocky desert hills
Mark Jenkins, a National Geographic writer and UW Center for Global Studies Senior Fellow, from Laramie, will discuss his latest adventures to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt during a free public presentation Thursday, March 15, at Northwest College. (Kyle Duba Photo)

Adventurer and journalist Mark Jenkins, of Laramie, will share his latest experiences exploring the desert mountains of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt during a free public presentation Thursday, March 15, in Powell.

Jenkins, a field staff writer for National Geographic and a UW School of Politics, Public Affairs and International Studies lecturer, will present “Camels, Climbing and St. Catherine: An Expedition to Egypt” at 6:30 p.m. in the Yellowstone Building conference area at Northwest College. The program is part of UW’s Center for Global Studies spring 2018 “World to Wyoming Series with Mark Jenkins.”

He is married to the former Sue Ibarra, of Powell.

Hidden in the heart of the desert mountains of the Sinai Peninsula are enormous walls and domes of red granite. Last November, Jenkins, also a UW Center for Global Studies Senior Fellow, led a four-man team of Wyoming climbers to South Sinai. Besides Jenkins, the group included Micah Rush, of Casper; and Kyle Duba and Kyle Elmquist, both of Lander.

The team lived with the Bedouin -- a grouping of nomadic Arab people who have historically inhabited the desert regions in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and large portions of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Jenkins says South Sinai is a pivotal region in the three Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It was on Mount Sinai that Moses, according to the Old Testament, received the Ten Commandments. At the base of Mount Sinai lies St. Catherine’s Monastery, built in 565. It is on that site where Moses saw the burning bush.

“St. Catherine’s is the oldest, continuously operating monastery in the world. Christians and Muslims have lived here in harmony for more than a millennium,” Jenkins says. “‘Camels, Climbing and St. Catherine: An Expedition to Egypt’ is about climbing big walls in a remote land; about Christian monks and Bedouin nomads; and about a place where tolerance is more powerful than terrorism.”

With National Geographic images, Jenkins, during his talk, will present photographs of the people, the group’s climbing adventures and the landscape of the region.

A critically acclaimed author and internationally recognized journalist, Jenkins covers geopolitics and adventure. Among hundreds of his stories, Jenkins has written about land mines in Cambodia, the war in Eastern Congo, the loss of koalas in Australia, ethnic cleansing in Burma, climbing Mount Everest in Nepal and the vanishing ski culture of the Tuvan people in the Altai Mountains of Central Asia.

Jenkins has won numerous writing awards, including the Overseas Press Club Ross Award in 2013 for “The Healing Fields,” a story about the landmines in Cambodia; and a National Magazine Award with colleague Brint Stirton for “Who Murdered the Mountain Gorillas” in 2009.

Jenkins has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in geography, both from UW.

UW’s Center for Global Studies and Office of Academic Affairs, Wyoming Humanities, Rocky Mountain Power Foundation and community partners sponsor Jenkins’ discussion.

For more information, call the Center for Global Studies at (307) 766-3152, email, or visit the website at

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