Chris Yager

Founder

B.A. Asian Studies, Bowdoin College

Chris’ journey to founding Dragons began in 1987, when he was among the first students to study in a newly opening China. Building on a lifetime of wilderness exploration – remote backcountry hiking, climbing, sailing and kayaking – Chris developed a passion for wilderness preservation. Combining interests in Asian Studies, cultural survival, development issues and environmental preservation, Chris began Dragons with the intention of exposing students to issues around population pressures and resource limitations. In 1993, Chris guided Dragons’ first student groups through previously closed parts of Western China and the Tibetan Plateau, and thereafter pioneered courses – with the first-ever student groups – in Western Nepal, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar and Vietnam. In 2001 Dragons put into place the first officially permitted home-stays in China and in the years since Chris has led the effort to establish Dragons’ year-round programming – supported by Program Houses with on-site staff, libraries, arts-mentors and home-stay communities – in China, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Senegal. Before starting Dragons, Chris worked as an Outward Bound instructor, coached high school sports and taught in classrooms, was trained as an EMT, and studied (post-college) anthropology. Chris’ two children have both participated in Dragons programs, as summer and semester students.