In the news

4th June 2010 at 01:00

Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop

Who is he?

Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop is a 34-year-old explorer-turned-teacher-turned explorer. After expeditions to the Himalayas when he graduated, he did a PGCE in secondary history. He taught at Eastbury Comprehensive, east London, and Crown Woods School, south London, where he took students on expeditions to Pakistan, India and the Middle East. He left teaching 18 months ago to create Digital Explorer, a social enterprise platform that engages young people in global and environmental issues.

Explorer, teacher, explorer? Explain

"When I came back from the Himalayas, I decided to focus on ways to integrate explorations into the curriculum, so I decided to be a teacher," says Mr Buchanan-Dunlop. "I was soon drawn to geography and citizenship. I left to create Digital Explorer, to provide schools with resources I wish I had as a teacher, to engage young people and get them clued up on the wider world."

Dora the Explorer no good then?

"We're in danger of letting the next generation down about education on global issues. We provide a platform for teachers and pupils to follow worldwide expeditions and find ways to give them a real understanding, bringing the issues to life. This morning, some students went to London Zoo to speak to my friend Ed (Stafford), who is the first man to try to walk the Amazon rainforest (a trek that takes in seven countries and thousands of miles of walking)."

You tempted?

"My long-term goal is to walk from London to Bangladesh with several mini-expeditions on the way. Ed is 786 days in - it should take 850 in total. The children were amazed to be talking to someone who has just woken up in the Amazon rainforest. It was 6.30am and pitch black. It's good because we taught them on rainforest issues, and they could ask Ed questions and get feedback."

Do you miss being at the chalkface?

"I really miss the classroom. I did try to do both - setting up Digital Explorer while teaching - but I developed a bad immune system, so decided to support teachers instead."

Any stories for the kids?

"I was once held at gunpoint by the Chinese army. My visa had expired and I had to convince them I was not involved in espionage. Stories are good when teaching - if they get the work done, the kids are rewarded with a story."

Favourite corner of the earth?

"North Pakistan. It is absolutely stunning. The people are wonderful. It is the most stunning place in the world."

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