WALLA WALLA, Wash.— Samuel Spiegel ’04 has been named a 2006 Trudeau Scholar by Canada’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.

The foundation’s webpage describes Spiegel, who majored in politics at Whitman, as an accomplished scholar and social and environmental activist who has worked with Canadian agencies and the United Nations on development issues in Africa, Asia, and South and Central America. In addition, he has published several peer-reviewed pieces in journals and U.N. reports.

Samuel Spiegel
Samuel Spiegel

Spiegel’s current research at the University of British Columbia concerns “The Political Ecology of the Global Gold Rush: Poverty and Development in African Mining Communities.” A 2005 trip to Zimbabwe in conjunction with a U. N. project to conduct a project on environmental management in mining communities resulted in an important dialogue with a group of women miners. Their conversations about people, ecosystems, economics and governance led to the development of community education programs and a set of environmental policy recommendations now under consideration by Zimbabwe.

According to the Trudeau Foundation’s website, the world’s current gold rush has created a situation where millions of miners in developing countries struggle to make a living using toxic methods of gold extraction. Spiegel conducts fieldwork in Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique in which he documents local voices and achievements that could guide future policy efforts. His research investigates how sustainable social change in such settings involves understanding political, economic and environmental information.Spiegel, according to the Foundation, “aims to bring to the global conscience the experiences of these communities that will hopefully aid in addressing issues of social justice and human rights.”

“I am honored and excited to be part of such an extraordinary community of scholars, mentors and fellows,” said Spiegel. “I think it will open new opportunities to see how other people are grappling with similar issues in different contexts.”