ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa., Jan. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- BCA Study Abroad President Michael Monahan is pleased to announce that Julia Marton-Lefevre, the Director General of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), will speak at the 9th Annual BCA Study Abroad International Student Conference to be held in Strasbourg, France from April 13 – 15, 2012.
The IUCN is the world's largest conservation/environment membership organization which brings together states, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, scientists and experts in a unique worldwide partnership. IUCN's mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.
Prior to her appointment as IUCN Director General, Julia Marton-Lefevre was Rector of the University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica, a graduate-level international university, mandated by the United Nations, providing education, training and research on issues related to peace and conflict. She has also previously served as Executive Director of LEAD (Leadership for Environment and Development), Executive Director of the International Council for Science (ICSU). Ms Marton-Lefevre is also a member of a number of boards, councils and committees for organizations such as the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), an advisory body to the Chinese Government; UPEACE; LEAD International; the Bibliotheca Alexandria; the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies; and, Oxford University's James Martin 21st Century School.
In 1999, Ms Marton-Lefevre received the AAAS Award for International Cooperation in Science. In 2008, she was awarded the "Chevalier de l'Ordre national de la Legion d'Honneur" by the French Government and was named Global Ambassador for Hungarian Culture by the Hungarian Minister of Education and Culture. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of the United Kingdom and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science.
BCA Study Abroad's 9th Annual International Student Conference will be focused on the environmental issues informing European-U.S. Relations. The conference is co-sponsored by the Institut d'Etudes Politiques of the University of Strasbourg, AEGEE – the European Students' Forum, and the Institute for American Universities in Aix-en-Provence, France. Since 2004, BCA Study Abroad has sponsored the annual conference so that students can explore the character and future of U.S.-European relations, as well as the fundamental differences between the European Union and the United States both structurally, and on important international issues. This year's conference in Strasbourg will explore the differing perspectives of Europeans and Americans on issues ranging from energy use, genetically modified food, and climate change. There will also be special emphasis on the issue of "Ecocide" and whether it should be made a crime against peace and subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. British environmental lawyer Polly Higgins will explore this issue in her keynote address at the opening plenary session of the conference in the Palais Universitaire of the University of Strasbourg.
BCA Study Abroad, which sends students to programs throughout Europe and the wider world, developed the idea for the conferences because its staff realized that U.S. students are often shocked by the different perspectives held by Europeans on many of today's most important issues. Speakers from Britain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States, as well as the European Commission, have in the past provided students with the broad historical context for their discussions. Students themselves put together their own international panels to emphasize their perspectives and questions about the future in the second half of the conferences.
The American students, who have come from different U.S. colleges and universities, have studied at programs in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Wales and England. Speakers and prominent guests at past conferences have included the former BBC presenter and editor of China Dialogue, Isabel Hilton; the United States political representative to the European Union, Lawrence Wohlers; Andras Biro, who won the "Alternative Nobel Prize" – the Right Livelihood Award; as well as faculty from the Institut de Etudes Politique in Strasbourg, and the Council of Europe, among others. Seth Shantz, a student from Radford College in Virginia, who studied at the BCA program in Derry, Northern Ireland, summed up the sentiments of his fellow American students: "I've found it difficult to sum up what my time [at the student conference] was like. One word keeps coming to mind: Inspirational."
Students interested in attending the conference should check the conference web site at www.BCAStudyAbroad.org, or contact Dr. James Skelly, the conference coordinator at [email protected]. Space is limited so students are encouraged to apply early.
The deadline for applications to attend the conference is March 1, 2012.
SOURCE BCA Study Abroad