Author(s): Erik Jensen
Once headhunters under the rule of White Rajahs and briefly colonised before independence within Malaysia, the Iban Dayaks of Borneo are one of the world's most extraordinary indigenous tribes, possessing ancient traditions and a unique way of life. As a young man Erik Jensen settled in Sarawak where he lived with the Iban for seven years, learning their language and the varied rites and practices of their lives. In this compelling and beautifully-wrought memoir, Erik Jensen reveals the challenges facing the Iban as they adapt to another century, whilst fighting to preserve their identity and singular place in the world. Haunting, yet hopeful, Where Hornbills Fly opens a window onto a vanishing world and paints a remarkable portrait of this fragile tribe, which continues to survive deep in the heart of Borneo.
'An engrossing study of 6 years spent among the Iban of Sarawak half a century ago, Where Hornbills Fly is a remarkable testament of a young man's devotion to a remote people, the Iban of Sarawak, and a wonderful fund of first-hand knowledge about a dying culture.' - Colin Thubron
Erik Jensen's impressive diplomatic career after Sarawak, which involved postings and missions around the world from New York and London to Bahrain, Pakistan and Bangladesh, East Timor, Nigeria, Chad and Western Sahara, culminated in his appointment as an Under Secretary-General of the United Nations. He holds degrees from Oxford and Harvard and honorary doctorates from Connecticut and Seoul and has been Senior Associate Member of St Antony's, Oxford, Visiting Fellow at the LSE and Warburg Professor in International Relations at Simmons College, Boston. He has contributed articles to The Times, The Guardian and The Sunday Telegraph and written several books, including 'The Iban and their Religion' and 'Western Sahara, Anatomy of a Stalemate'. Erik Jensen was an original Fellow of the Borneo Research Council and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.