Chris Naylor †
On Monday 28 October 2019 Peter and Miranda Harris, co-founders of A Rocha, and Chris Naylor, A Rocha International CEO, together with his wife Susanna, were involved in an horrific car accident in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in which Miranda, Chris and Susanna did not survive. David McKay is now Interim Executive Director | Director of Finance and Administration.
Chris has been Executive Director since April 2010.
He joined A Rocha in 1997 working, until 2009, as Lebanon Director where he cofounded the work. He oversaw the habitat restoration programme at the Aammiq marsh, the development of the environmental education project and the field research programme; identifying 11 new Important Bird Areas nationally.
Prior to joining A Rocha, Chris had a wide experience of science teaching and schools’ management in the UK and the Middle East, attending Bible College and learning Arabic (in Jordan) along the way.
He holds a Master’s degree from Cambridge University and a PGCE from Nottingham. He was born in 1961 and is married with three children.
Chris’s book, Postcards from the Middle East: How our family fell in love with the Arab world was published by Lion Hudson in March 2015. You can read excerpts on our Planetwise blog.
Before his untimely death, this is what Chris had to say about his work with A Rocha:
You were a National Director for 14 years. Does that help you now?
Yes, it really does. I know how it feels when the team is small, the funding is low and yet the opportunities are abundant.
A Rocha is intentionally cross-cultural. What do you bring to that from your time in the Middle East?
Living anywhere outside your own culture helps you to appreciate that people can perceive the world in very different ways. I want A Rocha to build on the strengths of our wonderfully diverse teams. The cultural gaps that we cross are not just geographical. The conservation world, for example, will have to adapt substantially if it opens up to the potentially huge role of faith groups.
What’s your biggest challenge as Executive Director?
In an organization of our size, crises are inevitable. Again, the Lebanon experience is invaluable, because as a family, we lived through wars, evacuation and all kinds of uncertainties. I learnt to live with difficulties and to keep a healthy perspective.
Do you want A Rocha to keep growing?
Yes, but the challenge is not just financial. I want us to remain a family, to keep the relational identity which is so important.
Have you other ambitions for A Rocha?
In many ways, the future for our planet looks bleak. Yet as Christians, we know there is hope, because this is God’s world, not ours. I want A Rocha to help people live and act with hope.
I couldn’t do my job without…
The fantastic International Team.