Andrew Muir

2008 Laureate, Environment
South Africa, Born 1965

Project Goal

Provide training and jobs to young people orphaned by AIDS

Location: South Africa

Trekking South Africa's coastline convinced Andrew Muir to become a conservationist. He now believes nature can heal the human psyche.

The natural beauty and solitude he experienced when trekking along South Africa’s coastline in 1985 awakened the then 20-year-old Andrew Muir to the importance of nature, which he now believes can heal the human psyche.

Muir, born in 1965, became a conservationist who uses nature for humanitarian goals. With 80 per cent of the world’s orphans living in sub-Saharan Africa, he is determined to use nature to solve the region’s biggest challenge.

Today, Muir is executive director of the Wilderness Foundation Africa and founder and driving force behind the Umzi Wethu Training Academy, a programme that provides vocational training – and eventual jobs in South Africa’s growing ecotourism – for AIDS orphans and other vulnerable youths.

Funds from Muir’s 2008 Rolex Award are helping him to achieve his goal of rolling out the programme and extending the Umzi Wethu concept throughout his country and beyond.

In His Own Words

Other 2008 Laureates