The United Nations Institute for Training and Research held this year on 26 May the fourth edition of the Geneva Lecture Series. The Geneva Lecture Series brings awareness of pressing global challenges to the concerned public and civil society in Geneva and beyond, with a focus on how each individual can contribute to resolve such challenges. It also offers an intellectual anchor for the work of the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva and a mechanism to channel current thinking and research into policy-making.
The guest speaker this year was Dr. Jane Goodall, United Nations Messenger of Peace and Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute. The title of her talk was: "Nature's wake-up call: why we must heed the warning".
Dr. Jane, as she prefers to be called, started studying chimpanzees about 50 years ago, but in 1986 realised that the scientific study of these amazing primates needed to go hand in hand with nature conservation and with sustainable development of local communities. For that purpose, she founded the Jane Goodall Institute, which has programmes dedicated to promote cooperation between wild life conservationists and local communities (takecare program), as well as programs dedicated to raising environmental and humanitarian awareness in children and youth.
A webcast of her lecture can be watched on the website of UNITAR dedicated to the Geneva Lecture Series.
It was interesting to note the name of the youth programs: "Roots & Shoots". As Dr. Jane said during her lecture, if you look at a seed that is starting to germinate, it looks so small and fragile, with thin roots and shoots, but these thin roots and shoots can move boulders to reach water, and grow through cracks in a wall until causing the wall to collapse. She considers these boulders and walls are the many obstacles that stand in the way of a better world society, and that seem so formidable and insurmountable for us today. It is the same image that Djwhal Khul uses to characterise the ten seed-groups.