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Since its founding in 2000, the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust has become a key player in the conservation of the Tsavo-Amboseli ecosystem.  The Trust's success is built on the hard work and dedication of a passionate team.  MWCT employs more than 250 local Maasai who provide conservation, education, and health services throughout Kuku Group Ranch.  To read about some of our key staff, please click here.

MWCT is led by a devoted Board of Directors, whose members represent five different nations.  Read on to learn about our board members and the experience they bring to the Trust.


Samson Parashina (Kenyan)
President of MWCT, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Advisory Board, Trustee
Samson holds a Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences degree with honors in sociology and political science.  He is an outstanding Maasai with a great vision for conservation.  He is also a respected community leader and member of both Kuku A and Kuku B Group Ranches.  He serves as Manager of Campi ya Kanzi, and he holds a Silver-Level certification from the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association.  Samson was celebrated by the United Nations Environment Programme as a Champion of the Earth at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

Luca Belpietro (Kenyan)
Founder, Executive Director, Trustee
Doctorate in Economics, with a thesis on Wildlife as a Natural Resource in Kenya. Founder of Campi ya Kanzi and MWCT, he is an active conservationist with 20 years of field experience with Maasai communities.

Antonella Bonomi (Italian)
Founder, Trustee
Doctorate in law. Founder of Campi ya Kanzi and MWCT. Supervisor of Kanzi Academy, the gifted pupils program of MWCT tuned to create the community leaders of tomorrow.

Patricia Awori (Kenyan)
Board member

Born and raised in Nairobi, Patricia obtained her B.S. in International Relations at Lock Haven University in the U.S. and currently lives in Western Kenya. East African history, wildlife conservation issues, and elephant behavior are among Patricia’s interests; she currently serves as the Director of the Pan-African Wildlife Conservation Network and has served on KWS Board. She speaks several languages and has worked as a guide and Travel Director for 25 years.

Pio Cabanillas (Spanish)
Board member
An expert in African matters, travelled extensively throughout the continent in more than 50 adventure safari. Former Cabinet Minister of Communication and Spokesman for the Spanish Government. Former CEO of the Spanish Public TV and Radio Broadcasting Company. Chief Global Brand and Marketing Officer of ACCIONA, world leader in renewable energies, infrastructure and water.

Costas Christ (American)
Board member
Costas is an internationally renowned expert on sustainable tourism and an award-wining travel writer. His portfolio includes Global Travel Editor for National Geographic Adventure, Green Travel Columnist for Virtuoso Life Magazine and his many articles and essays on travel and tourism have appeared in numerous leading publications, including the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Boston Globe and Sunday Times of London. Costas also serves as the Chairman for the World Travel and Tourism Council - Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which recognizes best practices in sustainable tourism. He is one of the pioneers of sustainable tourism, serving as a founding member and former Chairman of the Board of The International Ecotourism Society. He serves on the Advisory Board of WTM World Responsible Tourism Day, is a Special Advisor to The Leading Travel Companies Conservation Foundation, and is an Executive Board member of Sustainable Travel International. His work has taken him to more than 100 countries across six continents to support tourism as opportunity for protecting the environment and sustaining the social and economic well being of local communities.
He has appeared many times on television and radio, including The Today Show, National Public Radio, Good Morning America, CNN, BBC, CBS, and PBS, to discuss sustainable tourism.

Julius Kimani (Kenyan)
Board member
Julius is a graduate of Egerton University (Wildlife Conservation & Management) and also the National Defense College. He has over 25 years experience in Wildlife Conservation & Management and have been a Senior Warden in Laikipia, Assistant Director Western Conservation Area and Tsavo Conservation Area.
He majored in Wildlife Security and has been the Head of KWS Intelligence Department for a long time, Head of Wildlife Crime Department and is currently the Deputy Director in charge of Security Division.

Titus Naikuni (Kenyan)
Board member
Titus is the former CEO of Kenya Airways and holds a Bachelor of Science Honors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nairobi. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Management Development Program and was awarded a Doctor of Science Engineering by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
He joined the Magadi Soda Company in 1979 as a trainee engineer and rose to the positions of Managing Director of that company in 1995 and Managing Director of the Magadi Railway Company in 1996.
Between August 1999 and March 2001, Titus was a member of a team of World Bank sponsored Kenyan technocrats, known as the "Dream Team" who were engaged by the Government to turn around the economy.
In this capacity Titus served as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications and was a member of the Board of Kenya Airways.

Mark Nicholson (British)
Board Member
Doctorate in Veterinary. Experienced botanist and conservationist with decades of experience in managing grassland ecosystems. Equity holder on Naibosho Group Ranch (Maasai Mara), where he advises on botanical conservation and pastoralism.

Edward Norton (American)
Board member, President of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Fund
UN Ambassador for Biodiversity (appointed by UN Sec Gen, Ban Ki Moon in 2010). President MWCF, the US affiliate of MWCT.
Founder of Crowdrise.com Member of United Sates of America President’s Committee for Arts and Humanities (appointed by President Obama in 2009). Filmmaker (acted, produced, written and directed in 30 films; nominated for three Academy Awards for acting).

Muterian Ntanin (Kenyan)
Board member, Game Scouts Coordinator
Member of Kuku A and Kuku B. Head of community rangers, trained at Manyani Centre by Kenya Wildlife Service, he is passionately dedicated to preserving the wildlife and wilderness heritage of his community.

Mark Somen (Kenyan)
Board member
Mark Somen's hospitality career started at the age of 16 at the famed Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi. After working in a camp in the Maasai Mara and for 2 safari companies as a tour guide, Mark worked for the Savoy Group in London, before moving to New York. His 20 years in hospitality in New York included 9 years with Four Seasons Hotels, 2 with the St Regis Hotel, and then 5 years with the private members club/boutique hotel company Soho House, as their US Director of Operations. In 2009, Mark returned to Kenya to run one of Nairobi's top hotels, Tribe, and he recently became a partner in Craft House LLC, a hospitality consulting company.
Active conservationist and philanthropist. Advisory Board member of FilmAid International, Kenya Board of One Kid One World, as well as Board member of Kenya Education Fund.

Developing Committee: Six Maasai men and four Maasai women who are chosen by the community serve on a Developing Committee.

Advisory Board: Six officials elected by the Community serve in the Advisory Board, together with MWCT Board Chairman, Samson Parashina.

If you have any questions regarding MWCT, please contact Luca at luca@maasai.com.