Need to know about biodiversity

” We cannot think of having a stable society on this planet, if the biological matrix that sustains us is broken.”

Last week, we had a visit from distinguished Mexican Professor José Sarukhán Kermez from the Institute of Ecology, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and also the Co-ordinator of the National Committee on the Study and Conservation of Biodiversity [Mexico].

In a down-to-earth manner, the professor helped us understand the incredible importance of biodiversity regarding sustenance, climate change, current agricultural systems and the future. After our interview, Professor Sarukhan visited GEIC where he met with several of our specialist researchers and then later delivered a lecture at the UNU entitled “Mexico: The Privileges and Challenges of a Megadiverse Country.”

For more information, please visit UNU’s biodiversity page.

by Citt Williams on May 26, 2009 - Comments (00)  

Can movies change the world?

Last week the cinemas of Bunkamura Gallery and Roppongi Hills witnessed a frenzy of activity that was the 20th edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival. The festival boasted a truly international selection of films from all over the world, and in addition to the 16 movies competing for the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix, the festival included screening programs such as “Japanese Eyes”, “Tokyo in Focus” and “Winds of Asia – Middle East”.

The UNU is located quite close to both festival venues, so I attended the screening of a German movie that caught my attention, “Leroy”. The movie is a teen comedy that uses smart humour to talk about the quite serious issue of racism. Leroy is a German boy with a mixed German and African ethnic background. His misadventures begin when he starts dating a blonde girl from an ultra-conservative family.

While the movie is perhaps not that special in terms of production or cinematographic values, the smart and charming story it tells made it the winner of the Audience Award of the festival. To me it was a brilliant example of how media can make people think of important issues in a fun and entertaining way.

After the screening I had a chance to talk with first-time director Armin Voelckers and the protagonists Alain Morel and Anna Hausburg to ask them what they think about the power of movies to change people’s attitudes in topics as difficult as racism. Listen what they had to say by clicking on the Youtube window on top of this post.

by luis on December 11, 2007 - Comments (00)  
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