Ladies and Gentleman, the moment has arrived! Today we announce the 2012 AsiaTravel Explorer Finalists. One of these three will be chosen and the winner will be announced in early January 2012!
The AsiaTravel Explorer Grant is an annual grant of up to USD 3,000 that is awarded to adventurers seeking to push the boundaries of responsible, off-the-beaten-path travel in China. Last week, AsiaTravel Founder Zhang Mei and the expert panel sat down to lunch at one of Beijing’s nicest hideaways– Capital M— to discuss the finalists.
The panel– Ed Wong of The New York Times, Li Bo of Friends of Nature and Yu Hui of National Geographic Traveler China– were blown away by the caliber of applications. The panel mulled over amazing trekking trips in Gansu province by former Bowdoin College graduates, professional photographers who saught to travel to Jiangxi Province to learn more about Wuyuan County and a world famous journalist and author who desired to venture to Poyang Lake, the last wintering area for nearly all of the world’s critically endangered Siberian Cranes and some 400,000 other water birds. We were so impressed.
However, tough decisions needed to be made. And this is what the judges decided:
Announcing The 2012 AsiaTravel Explorer Grant Finalists…
Finalist # 3: Yachen Monastery & Tibetan Buddhism: Exploring the lives of Tibetan Nuns by Yasmin Cho.
Yasmin, a former graduate student in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, conducted preliminary field research over two summers focused on building relationships with non-Tibetan nuns and lay practioners. Yasmin is passionate about this subject as there has been no international coverage of the thousands of young Tibetan nuns who congregate in the Yachen monastery practicing Buddhism. Yasmin hopes to explore the social impacts of this population in China.
Finalist # 2: Venturing to Ganzi Prefecture in Sichuan Province by Zhang Shanghua (张上华).
Ganzi Prefecture in Sichuan Province is some of the wildest parts of China. There are no roads, no cars and very few people. As a result, Mr. Zhang wants to travel to experience this “primitive natural beauty and the most authentic religious atmosphere.” Mr. Zhang plans to use 25-30 days to explore in-depth this area to share with the outside world. Mr. Zhang lives in Chengdu Sichaun and works as a scientist at Chengdu ChemPartner Co., Ltd.
Finalist # 1: Trekking China’s Wilderness: Scouting a Route Along the Backbone of Ailao Shan & Connecting Routes by William Bleisch and Yan Lu.
With experiences such as the Program Director of China Exploration & Research Society, World Wildlife Federation China, Fauna & Flora International China Programme Office and Harvard University, this team of William and Yan is pretty dynamic. In 2012, William and Yan propose to scout a route along the backbone of the Ailao Shan in Yunnan, through the nature reserves and up on to Dali where the route would connect with existing trekking routes.
Stay tuned to learn more about each of the explorers. We will be doing a short feature on each of them in the coming weeks. One of these three will be chosen and the winner will be announced in early January 2012!
For more information on the AsiaTravel Explorer Grant, please click here.