THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY - HONG KONG
"Afghanistan: Peace Building"
Dr. Daniel Taylor
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
5/F One Pacific Place, Admiralty
Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm
We are delighted to welcome again Dr. Daniel Taylor, who worked in Tibet for almost 25 years on saving the nature of Mount Everest and Tibet, to lecture on "Afghanistan: Peace Building", his most recent initiative. Dr. Taylor was also previously leader of three expeditions to discover the identity of the, until then, enigmatic "Abominable Snowman" or Yeti, which he found and solved to world acclaim in 1986. This lecture promises to be a fascinating journey through Dr Taylor's recent work, illustrated by his fine photograph collection, speaking about "Engaging the People -What's Missing in Action in Afghanistan".
In 2007 the Royal Geographical Society heard Dr. Taylor speak about the extraordinary conservation achievements in the Tibet Autonomous Region - beginning with the formation of the Mt. Everest Nature Preserve and ten subsequent nature preserves, and most recently the launch of the Green Long March, now the largest youth environmental movement across China.
Future Generations Afghanistan (one of an international family of eight organisations) began working in that country prior to 11 September 2001. The organisation has deep perspective on mistakes made, and it has reports of remarkable achievements that have gone unnoticed. The Afghan story that is so often reported is one of war and of the occupation of the country by various militant factions - an ancient story that goes back at least to Alexander the Great.
But the deeper story of Afghanistan is one of the Afghan people. Their persistence has been what consistently has beaten the invaders. Dr. Taylor argues that the oversight of current international policy is excluding the Afghan people from true partnership in the peace building effort. All is not lost, however, as Dr. Taylor explains in the lecture. There are seeds of exciting community-based action growing in many places. The challenge is to nurture these seeds to grow to scale - and evidence is provided of how that is happening and can be strengthened. But to stop the now growing insurgency requires a more sincere and profound engagement with the Afghan people at the community level.
Dr Taylor was educated at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard and Yale. His early career was as a teaching Fellow at Harvard and then with the US Agency for International Development. He has lectured and taught worldwide and is the author of more the 30 papers and books. Since 1992 he has been President of Future Generations. He holds the Order of the Golden Ark, presented by HRH Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands for work in international conservation, was knighted and was a Commencement Speaker for U.S. Presidential Scholars. Dr Taylor's particular focus is on empowering communities, then scaling up community-based projects to large impact. In 1985, he led the formation of Makalu-Barun National Park and then of the Everest National Nature Reserve in Tibet. Subsequently, he led in the development of the Four Great Rivers Nature Reserve (upper drainages of Yangtze, Mekong, Salween and Brahmaputra Rivers), an area the size of Italy. In addition, Dr Taylor led the series of expeditions that provided the scientific explanation for the Yeti (or Abominable Snowman), developed an extensive portfolio of nature and wildlife photography and founded five non-profit organisations.
Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$50 for Members, HK$100 for Members' guests and HK$150 for others.