George Kourounis (Keynote)

Keynotes and Special Events
Thursday Feb 14   09:00 AM to 10:30 AM (1 hour 30 minutes)
TELUS Convention Centre - Macleod Hall

George Kourounis is an award-winning explorer, one of the world’s most active storm chasers, television presenter, and freshly-minted Explorer-in-Residence with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Based in Toronto, his efforts to document nature’s most extreme conditions have taken him all over the globe, into places most normal people are fleeing from. Whether it’s a tornado outbreak in Kansas, a monster hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, forest fires in Alberta or Australia, or descending deep inside an active volcano in the Congo, he’s typically in the middle of the action—with his camera rolling. His adventures have been seen around the world on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, BBC-TV, CNN, Science Channel, and of course, his own adventure TV program, Angry Planet, which has been broadcast in over 100 countries on The Weather Network, Travel Channel, and others. As an RCGS Explorer-on-Residence, Kourounis provides education and outreach, helping the Society to promote geographical education across Canada.

His unique and unbelievable explorations have fascinated audiences worldwide, and have often resulted in accomplishing world’s firsts. While leading a scientific expedition for National Geographic, searching for microbial life forms in extreme places, George became the first person to ever set foot at the bottom of the Darvaza flaming gas crater, a fiery pit that has been burning for over 45 years in the Turkmenistan desert. More people have stood on the surface of the moon.

Kourounis started chasing tornadoes and other storms over 20 years ago and has continued to expand his explorations to include all types of extreme natural phenomena. By sharing these adventures with the world, his goal is to inspire people to embrace their own curiosity and break out of their routines and do something that they consider a little bit scary.

Kourounis is a regional director for The Explorers Club. He is also a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a member of the Canadian Council For Geographic Education and the Society Of Environmental Journalists. He was nominated for Gemini awards for his work hosting Angry Planet. In addition, George has given 4 TEDx talks and has addressed the United Nations Environmental Emergencies Forum. In 2014, he won the Stefansson Medal from the Explorers Club Canadian Chapter for his “outstanding contributions to science and to public education.” Recently, he was named one of Canada’s greatest explorers by Canadian Geographic magazine. 

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