MAJKA BURHARDT: BIO
Majka Burhardt has a passion for creating unusual connections. As a professional climber, conservation entrepreneur, author and filmmaker Majka has spent two decades leading multi-stage international ventures focused on current issues of environmental and cultural significance spanning Africa, Europe, South, and North America.
Majka is the Founder and Executive Director of Legado, an international organization working to protect the world’s most threatened mountain ecosystems by empowering the people who call them home. She founded Legado to address the growing need to create conservation solutions that put mountain people at the center of preserving the world’s most biodiverse mountains— the water towers of our world.
As an author, Majka’s first book Vertical Ethiopia: Climbing Toward Possibility in the Horn of Africa (2008) was short‑listed for the Banff Book Award. Her second book, Coffee Story: Ethiopia, was released in August 2011 and featured by Starbucks in 2013, and re-released as a second edition in 2018. In 2010, Majka produced Waypoint Namibia and the film was featured at international film festivals and shown on NBC’s Universal Sports. Majka was nominated for an EPIC Emerging Artist Award for her work as the Executive Producer. Her 2016 film Namuli was released to acclaim at over 50 international film festivals and across the US on PBS. Namuli tells the story of Majka’s climbing and conservation research Mount Namuli, Mozambique’s second highest mountain and a critical target for conservation in southeast Africa— and of the origins of Legado.
As a keynote speaker, Majka addresses a diverse group of organizations and companies. Her clients have included Google, Nespresso, the Commonwealth Club, Banff Film and Book Festival, Colorado Environmental Coalition, universities and colleges throughout North America, and many others.
Her work and projects have been featured in The Economist, Outside Magazine, The Weather Channel, NPR and many other major international media outlets. Majka’s articles have appeared in publications including Afar, Men’s Health, Skiing Magazine, Backpacker, Patagonia, Alpinist, Women’s Adventure, The Explorers Journal, and Climbing, where her column “Whipped,” ran for six years. Majka’s blog, The Liminal Line, can be found here, on her website.
Concurrent with her role as Executive Director of Legado, Majka is a professional climber and ambassador with top outdoor company Patagonia. She is an American Mountain Guides Association Rock Guide and also former two-term member of the organizations’ Board of Directors. Majka is a Mulago Foundation Henry Arnhold Fellow for her work in conservation entrepreneurship and graduated from Princeton University cum laude and received a MFA in Creative Writing from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.
Photos: James Q Martin