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This week, members of the Case Foundation team had the privilege of attending the National Geographic Explorers Symposium, an incredible gathering of National Geographic's Emerging Explorers, Explorers-in-Residence, Visiting Fellows, and others to showcase their work and discuss a range of topics including engaging communities in conservation, the power of the image to engage the public, our ocean's future and cultural heritage.
Through these discussions, the Symposium enabled the broader National Geographic community to get a pulse on the issues that are most important to them. Some highlights from the symposium include:
- Filmmakers & conservationists Dereck and Beverly Joubert discussing how they've successfully engaged local communities in Africa to play a key role in wildlife and environmental conservation efforts. This fascinating session also featured Emerging Explorers Grace Gobbo, an ethnobotonist with the Jane Goodall Institute's Greater Gombe Ecosystems Program and Shafqat Hussain, the founder of Project Snow Leopard, a low-cost insurance program in Pakistan's Baltistan region that compensates local herders for livestock that are killed by snow leopards, stabilizing the economy and deterring the killing of these endangered cats.
- An inspiring discussion on photography and the power of the image to connect with the public, featuring renowned photographer Reza who told the story of how photography ultimately led to his becoming a humanitarian, and the development of the AÏNA initiative, which has trained more than 1,000 Afghan women in media and communication skills.
- Geographer and Explorer-in-Residence Jared Diamond asserting that conservation in the 21st century is "doomed to fail" without the involvement of big businesses participating as positive forces in this effort. He addressed the common misperception that business has been largely a negative force in conservation - pointing to examples of businesses like Wal-Mart that have created a ripple effect in changing corporate behavior as it relates to environmental responsibility.
- Thomas Culhane, Urban planner and Emerging Explorer, titled his presentation "Saving the Climate: It Starts at Home," shared examples of the steps he and his wife have taken in their own home to conserve water and energy - and how they've inspired their friends and neighbors through their own actions.
National Geographic has some great summary videos of the Symposium available on their site, including the below session on the future of exploration, which will give you a great taste of what the event was all about.
National Geographic has some great summary videos of the Symposium available on their site, including the below session on the future of exploration, which will give you a great taste of what the event was all about.We're honored to have been a part of such a great event.