ECWG member Llewellyn “Lew” Toulmin, Ph.D., F.R.G.S., MN ’04 is leading a Flag Expedition of Explorers Club members and others to the remote island of Maewo in the Republic of Vanuatu, in the southwest Pacific, in August 2016. He and his team of Club members from various Chapters are documenting the female chiefs of Maewo. For over 100 years scholars and anthropologists have thought and written that there were no female chiefs in all of Melanesia, but Toulmin discovered them while working for three years in the Vanuatu Prime Minister’s Office. This Expedition is the first scientific effort to study them. (See “Female Chiefs of Maewo” on Facebook. GoFundMe and other social media.)
Lew is also investigating and documenting the disappearance of the legendary Jim Thompson, the “Silk King of Thailand,” who vanished in 1967 in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia. He has written a massive report on the case and is giving lectures on the mystery to the Siam Society, the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, the International School of Bangkok, the International Spy Museum, the DACOR-Bacon house, and chapters of The Explorers Club. (See www.themosttraveled.com under “New Land Adventures” for more information.)
While working on this project Lew found previously unpublished Thompson letters, and these led him to also pursue a lost temple cave filled with large Buddhas in central Thailand which Thompson looked for but was unable to find, and which is still unknown to spelunkers in Thailand.