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PCGS Expands Its Global Partners

posted Feb 10, 2017, 10:13 AM by Ulanna Carrijo Bento   [ updated Feb 10, 2017, 1:21 PM ]
As part of the United Nations' International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the Patel College kicked off a series of guest lectures on this topic.

According to Dean Berman, the speaker series fits in perfectly with Patel College's commitment to providing local solutions for global problems and its mission of empowering communities.

The first speaker in the series was Dr. Guillermo Castro, who is a Panamanian researcher and humanist linked to the City of Knowledge Foundation since 2000. His executive background includes the management of the Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies and the Technical Secretariat of the Social Cabinet of Panama. He obtained a Master's and Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from the Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM). He is also a graduate of the Universidad de Oriente, Santiago de Cuba. He is a founding member and has been President of the Latin American and Caribbean Society of Environmental History; a Research associate of the Antonio Núñez Jiménez Foundation of Nature and Man, Havana, Cuba; and associate researcher of the Working Group on Political Ecology, of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences.

Just a few minutes from downtown Panama City, The City of Knowledge is strategically located across from the Panama Canal. Some 120 hectares and more than 200 buildings of what was once the Clayton military base are now home to a booming international community established for the purpose of business, academic, scientific, and humanistic collaboration. The objective is human and sustainable development based on knowledge. Dean Berman sees the City of Knowledge as an example for students of a "think tank" and "do tank" combined. 

USF became a part of the City of knowledge project 10 years ago and has been in Dr. Castro's opinion the only American university that has truly understood their mission. USF also created a public health program that will bring into Panama graduate students and researchers not only to study but also to work with local organizations and network. Dean Berman is excited about the opportunities that Patel students will have, such as internships, through this new partnership. 

Our second guest speaker for the U.N. Year of Sustainable Tourism Development was Chief Phil Lane Jr. who joined us February 9th. 

Chief Phil Lane Jr. is a member of the Yankton Sioux tribe and Chickasaw nations and is also the chairman of Four Directions International. He has spent the past 44 years working with indigenous peoples around the world in order to promote and foster sustainable development.

He joined us to share ways that we can be sustainable tourists and develop communities of our own which enrich the world instead of harming it. 

From his book, The Sacred Tree, Lane shared with us 16 guiding principles that we can follow to be global human beings and live more sustainably. These principles were compiled by 45 Native American leaders, who all met to share their ideas and find common ground.  The principles were all based on the idea of mutual understanding of one another and our planet.

“I know that there is a golden rule, but I think we need a platinum one.” said Lane, “ We must treat others how THEY want to be treated.”

This presentation was a great way to kick off the U.N. Year of Sustainable Tourism as it encompassed everything that this year is about. Tourism is important to many economies, and traveling is essential to being a globally minded human being. The goal is not to end tourism, but instead to make it a more sustainable practice so that our children and grandchildren can continue to travel and enjoy the world, too. 

Dr. Guillermo Castro and Phil Lane Jr.’s entire presentation can be found on our Facebook page! 

To learn more about the U.N. Year of Sustainable Tourism, visit the UNWTO website.