Director of Amboseli Trust for Elephants; Sociologist
Dr. Betsy Swart, MSW, PhD has worked in the animal protection movement since the 1980's, serving as program director for national and international animal protection organizations. Since 1999, she has been the Executive Director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, the longest running study of wild elephants in the world. The Trust works to protect 1,500 elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya.
She completed degrees in both social work and sociology. Dr. Swart authored several papers and magazine articles on animals, women, and the environment and has presented at national and international conferences. Currently, she is co-authoring a textbook on sociology and socialization.
Dr. Swart’s ongoing work in Africa concerns wildlife, human rights, and indigenous issues. She works with women and children in Kibera, Kenya--the largest slum in sub-Saharan Africa. There, in addition to research on gender-based violence, she helped young girls escape situations of violence in their homes and workplaces. Dr. Swart aided teenage boys in organizing a soccer team and a youth support center. Key among her current projects is the establishment of a secondary-school scholarship fund for girls.
Dr. Swart speaks to the overarching motivation for all her work: "My goal has always been to address injustice, whether it is animal abuse, poverty, racism, or the situation of women in the larger social system. It has been empowering for me, both as a student and a teacher."