Meet the Distinguished Speakers and Guests of the New Jersey Ivory Crush

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Two years after New Jersey passed the first comprehensive ban of ivory sales in the nation, New Jersey lawmakers are uniting with international representatives and citizens at the New Jersey Ivory Crush on World Elephant Day, August 12, 2016.

Learn more about the speakers below!

botschafterthomsGerman Ambassador Heiko Thoms
Speaker and Distinguished Guest

Ambassador Heiko Thoms has been the Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations since July 2013. He served in Cairo, Teheran, Brussels (Permanent Representation to the EU) and  Berlin. Before being appointed as Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, he was the German Foreign Minister’s Chief of Staff. He currently serves as Vice-President of the Executive Board of UN Women. He also chairs the Group of Friends of UN Police and the Group of Friends against Illicit Wildlife Trafficking.

c33316_4857e0ca215a499ea2608cca69bb7d55Michael Moussa-Adamo, Gabonese Ambassador to the United States
Speaker and Distinguished Guest

His Excellency Michael Moussa-Adamo was appointed by the President of Gabon, His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba and presented his credentials as the new Ambassadorof the Gabonese Republic to United States President Barack Obama on September 9, 2011. Ambassador Moussa-Adamo’s dedication to public service is evident following a two-decade career, including five years as a Congressman (Deputy) in the Gabonese National Assembly Parliament, where he served as Spokesman for the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense.  Ambassador Moussa-Adamo is dedicated to preserving the future of his country’s forest elephants, stating recently, “There is no Africa, or Gabon, without elephants.”

CaptureDeputy Chief of Mission of the Kenya Embassy David Gacheru
Speaker and Distinguished Guest

David Gacheru serves as the Deputy Chief of Mission for the Kenya Embassy in Washington, DC. Kenya is home to one of the most beloved — and threatened — elephant populations in Africa. The Kenyan government has shown a strong commitment to strengthening protections for elephants and fighting the ivory trade. In April 2016, Kenya held a record-breaking ivory burn, destroying 105 kg of confiscated ivory.

LesniakNew Jersey State Senator Raymond J. Lesniak
Keynote Speaker

Without a doubt one of New Jersey’s most senior and respected lawmakers, Senator Raymond J. Lesniak has a long and distinguished career in improving lives for New Jersey residents. A long-time animal rights advocate and hero in the fight against extinction, Senator Lesniak was the champion behind New Jersey’s ivory sales ban in 2014, and led New Jersey to ban the import and sales of hunting “trophies” of 9 endangered species in 2016.

mukherji_colorNew Jersey State Assemblyman Raj Mukherji
Keynote Speaker

New Jersey lawmaker Raj Mukherji has brought a vibrant energy and keen intelligence to the New Jersey political scene and the plight to save elephants from extinction. Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, a former software CEO and healthcare entrepreneur, Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, and Sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve, authored the measure to ban ivory sales in the Assembly and campaigned eloquently for its passage until the end. Since then, Assemblyman Mukherji has spoken out on numerous occasions on behalf of elephants and ending the ivory trade worldwide.

860704_479433845437889_1487607208_oPennsylvania State Representative Madeleine Dean
Speaker and Distinguished Guest

State Representative Madeleine Dean was elected in 2012 to represent Pennsylvania’s 153rd Legislative District. She brings with her nearly three decades of experience as a lawyer, writer and teacher. Within her role as state representative, Madeleine sits on several important committees, including Appropriations, Judiciary, Policy, Ethics, and Finance, of which she is Vice-Chair. Representative Dean is the lead co-sponsor for bipartisan legislation banning all ivory sales in the Keystone state.

1798414_793594077330301_1892712018555976103_nJersey City Major Steven Fulop
Delivering Historic Opening Address and Distinguished Guest

On May 14, 2013, Steven Michael Fulop was elected the 49th Mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey. Mayor Fulop’s leadership has helped transform Jersey City through policies such as guaranteed paid sick leave, public safety reform, economic growth, and small business protections. After September 11, 2001, Mayor Fulop served as a Corporal in the Marines, and he has also worked as an investment banker and served on the Jersey City council for 8 years. Under Mayor Fulop’s leadership, Jersey City has become one  of the greenest towns in the nation. 

9957hBill Clark of the Kenya Wildlife Service 
Speaker and Distinguished Guest

Bill Clark attends the New Jersey Ivory Crush on behalf of the African Elephant Coalition. Dr. Clark has been working in wildlife law enforcement for more than 35 years. W  He has flown many hours of anti-poaching patrol for the Kenya Wildlife Service Airwing, and continues to work closely with the KWS Security Department. He has worked on ivory cases, bird smuggling cases and similar violations for the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and served as an Israeli delegate to CITES for more than three decades.  Dr. Clark is trained as a wildlife biologist and has had many articles published in peer-reviewed journals (Science, Conservation Biology, Scientific American, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, et al.)

unnamedRachael Bale, National Geographic journalist
Speaker and Distinguished Guest

Rachael Bale reports on wildlife crime and exploitation for Wildlife Watch, a part of National Geographic’s Special Investigations Unit. She writes about poaching, trafficking, the live animal trade, exotic pets, and more. Previously she covered environmental issues for The Center for Investigative Reporting. She also has worked for KQED, San Francisco’s public radio station, and the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative newsroom. A California native, she has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Reed College and a master’s degree in journalism from American University.

unnamed (3)Shannon Elizabeth, Actress and Animal Advocate
Speaker and Distinguished Guest

A native of Texas, Shannon Elizabeth is a story-teller by profession, an animal lover to the core and a conservationist and activist in the making. The founder of the nonprofit Animal Avengers, Shannon is an actress, director, photographer, and advocate. She starred in the American Pie series, Scary Movie & That 70s Show, among many others.

asher-jay_creatorAsher Jay, Artist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer
Speaker and Distinguished Guest

A self-described “creative conservationist,” Asher Jay brings talent, innovation, and artistry to the fight against wildlife trafficking. Her renowned global multimedia art campaigns, including a massive animated Times Square billboard, have garnered international acclaim and changed the way thousands of people look at wildlife and conservation issues. Jay was has been named an Emerging Explorer by the National Geographic, and her stunning artwork features prominently in the promotional materials for the New Jersey Ivory Crush.

Twitter_PictureKate Brooks, Filmmaker and Photojournalist 
Speaker and Distinguished Guest

Kate Brooks began working as a freelance photojournalist in Russia while documenting child abuse in state orphanages. She has worked extensively across the greater Middle East, photographing political turmoil and impact of conflict on civilian populations. Brooks has been the recipient of numerous international awards, and her  photographs have been exhibited in galleries and museums in Europe, the U.A.E and U.S.  Brooks is the director of the upcoming documentary, The Last Animals, documenting the wildlife trafficking epidemic worldwide.

BeacherJohn Beacher, Singer/Songwriter
Musical Performer

Hailing from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, John Beacher prides himself in being an “adamant singer songwriter, community keystone, and hope enthusiast.” A world traveler and fighter against social injustice, Beacher has performed both solo and with groups, including Elephant Revival. Beacher will be performing his song, “Elephant Call.” To learn more and listen to his music, visit his website at

unnamed (1)Abigail Christine Smith, teen elephant advocate

Born in Tucson, Arizona, Abby is a ninth grader who’s full of energy and with a passion for interior design, baking, party planning and theatre. Her career goal is to become a pediatrician. Abby recently spoke at the third annual International March for Elephants in Washington, DC, in October of last year, bringing down the house with her inspiring words about the importance of protecting elephants for future generations.

teenTeagan Yardley, teen elephant advocate

Thirteen-year-old Taegen Yardley of Vermont has made huge waves in the world of animal advocacy, spreading awareness through her project, A World With Elephants: Saving Elephants One Kid at a Time. Teagen was a driving force behind the short film Vermont Battles for Elephants!, organized the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, and has testified at the Vermont State House in favor of an ivory sales ban in Vermont.

Also delivering remarks will be representatives of the sponsoring nonprofit organizations: Jen Samuel, president and founder of Elephants DC, and Kathleen Schatzmann, state council director for The Humane Society of the United States. Pennsylvania citizen Ann Lewis, Elephants DC vice president, will be introducing Rep. Dean.

Join Us at the New Jersey Ivory Crush!

The New Jersey Ivory Crush  will be held at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, with presentations beginning at 11 a.m. For more information about the New Jersey Ivory Crush, including a detailed schedule, please see our press release. We hope you can join us on World Elephant Day!



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