Michael Asher is a notable desert explorer who has traveled thousands of miles on foot and by camel. He has lived in Africa for much of his life. As a young man he served in the Parachute Regiment and the SAS. Later, he worked in The Sudan as a volunteer English teacher when he took to desert travel in Kordofan and Darfur, thence to Egypt along the ancient slave-trade route on which he based his first book In Search of the Forty Days Road. From 1982, Asher lived with the Kababish tribe in Kordofan for three years, after which he took a famine relief camel caravan to the Bejan people in the Red Sea Hills. In 1986, with his wife, he traveled 4,500 miles with camels to make the first recorded crossing of the Sahara from west to east on foot. in 1992, Asher crossed the Western Desert with a local companion from Mersa Matruh, Libya to Aswan, Egypt. With his wife, he has crossed the Thar Desert in India by camel and the Uruq-ash-Shaiba, the highest dunes in the Empty Quarter of Arabia. A further journey on foot was made on the pilgrimage route around Mount Kailash, Tibet. Asher has published twenty one books and has worked for the UN Agencies WHO/UNICEF, UNEP AND UNPOS involved in famine relief, training peacekeepers, human rights and disengaging guerrilla forces. for the British Council he trained police in Western Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan. He has campaigned for the preservation of the ecology of fragile desert and semi-desert environments as well as the forcible removal of indigenous peoples from then.
His desert journeys and his appreciation of their environments and indigenous people with whom he has traveled , in what is a fast disappearing way of life, together with his studies of Thesiger and Lawrence, make him a worthy recipient of the Memorial Medal, in pursuance of the Council’s resolution on 23 March 2016.