Eighth Annual
President's Conference

Sustainable Development of the Global Commons

Created 2010-10-15

On May 21, 2010, in the beautiful setting of the Salle Foch at the Cercle de l’Union Interalliée, the AUP community came together for the Eighth Annual AUP President’s Conference. This year’s annual President’s Conference was organized with a particular emphasis on the broad interdependency that underpins current issues in sustainable development, emphasizing the possibility of cooperative action across disciplines as diverse as energy and education, urban development and human hope. The conference speakers were varied in both geographic location and area of work but all share the passion of striving to develop successful models of sustainable development.

After opening statements by both AUP President, Celeste Schenck and, conference organizer, Professor Susan Perry, detailing AUP’s commitment to an interdisciplinary approach to this area of study, Major Bo Frank took the podium to explain why the city of Vaxjo, Sweden has been proclaimed the “Greenest city in Europe” and how it has been leading in the field of sustainable urban development. After this local look at sustainable development, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency, Faith Birol explained how at a regional and global level it is advising its member countries on implementation of green policies. Following this, Uma Prajapati, Founder of Upasana Design Studio in India, explained how she is working on the ground to promote fair and sustainable agrarian and fashion design practices. University of the Free State (South Africa) Rector Jonathan Jansen finished with a rousing speech on how sustainability relies on individuals and groups working together and detailing how he is working on issues of discrimination and race relations.

The afternoon ended with a question-and-answer period where the large group of undergraduate students, graduate students, alumni, and other members of the AUP community present were able to get further details from the speakers. Following the conference, AUP has opened or reinforced dialogue networks with each of the four speakers and their organizations. This spring, a group of students from the University of the Free State will come to AUP to investigate how the diverse AUP student population successfully lives and works together.