Saturday, March 21, 2009

Global Issues Network Conference ISB Bangkok 2009

I have the privilege of being able to attend the GIN conference this weekend. The presentations and keynotes have been inspiring. Friday's opening keynote speaker was John D. Liu We learned that environmental degradation can be reversed as illustrated by the Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabilitation project that was started in 1995.

The afternoon's Keynote speaker was 17 year old Ryan Hrelijac
Ryan was inspired to start building well's when he was 6 years old. He build his first well in 1999 in Uganda. His foundation has built 441 wells in 16 developing nations. 

Saturday morning we heard Dr. Mechai Viravaidya He is affectionately known as Mr. Condom and his chain of restaurants and resorts in Thailand called cabbages and condoms provide good food and you bill will come will a condom in place of the traditional mint. Dr. Mechai has worked on zero population growth initiatives, HIV/AIDS education and now the 'Village development partnership model;sustainability through community empowerment and the village development bank." He says ' We should be moving away from the welfare approach;business is the only way out of poverty.'

Natasha Yogachandra, an 11th grade student at Rumrudee  started The hope is life foundation She has built libraries and schools in several countries in Africa and Asia.

Lek Chailert is an animal rights activist. Her passion is elephants and she advocates for the rights and welfare of elephants in Thailand. She told us to contact The Lonely Planet and other travel guides that suggest that tourists visit local attractions that exploit animals. We should ask these guide books to take a more socially conscious position and stop guiding people to venues where animals are not treated humanely.

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