On a cold January night in 1987, the calm faade of the historic Hotel Tabard Inn masked the heated turmoil happening inside. A handful of passionate environmentalists had assembled, bound by a fierce conviction to pursue a revolutionary approach to conservation.
Their vision was global in scale and involved local people to an extent they had never been before. Lacking support from their peers, the cost of moving forward for these environmentalists was clear: they would have to go it alone. It was a life-altering decision that took only a matter of hours. By dawn the next morning, in a Washington, D.C., hotel room, Conservation International was born.
Driven to Engage People, Tradition
Led by Peter Seligmann, CIs founders were driven by an extraordinary concept that, even at the time, was showing potential in the field. Prior experience in Latin America had taught them that conservation efforts were most effective when local communities were engaged early on.
More than anyone, local people have an intimate understanding of their surrounding environment, as their cultures and livelihoods often depend on it. By applying their knowledge to and encouraging their participation in conservation, conservation in turn provides lasting and direct benefits to the health and well-being of people.
A Unique Approach to Conservation
Today, we at CI pursue our mission with the same passion that started this organization 20 years ago. We remain firmly committed to a unique approach that blends science, economics, and conservation for the betterment of all life on Earth.
Our scientific research has paved the way for protecting massive amounts of land and sea in the biologically richest, yet most threatened places in the world. Our innovative financing schemes have allowed governments to take pride in safeguarding their countries natural resources, and our relationships with businesses and indigenous communities have secured habitat and centuries-old traditions for future generations. Without the steadfast determination of our diverse partners, none of our successes would be possible.
Over a span of 20 years, our bold approach and strategic partnerships have achieved remarkable advances in conservation and a long list of accomplishments of which we are proud.