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AWF CEO Featured at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival

  • Wednesday, July 8, 2009

ASPEN, COLORADO--The Aspen Institute held its fifth annual celebration of ideas from June 29 -- July 5 in Aspen, Colorado. Dr. Patrick Bergin, CEO of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), was among the more than 175 leaders from the fields of arts, science, culture, religion, philosophy, economics and politics featured at the Festival.

Presenting under the Program Track "Managing Planet Earth," Bergin talked about "ideas that work" in conservation, focusing on large-landscape programs that transcend political boundaries and innovative ideas that protect wildlife in ways that generate benefits for people.

The weeklong festival drew an audience of nearly 2,000, engaging groups during both large and small gatherings in a thought-provoking discourse on the most pressing ideas and issues facing the world today.

"The caliber of presenters and participants and diversity of ideas discussed were extraordinary," said Bergin. "I took away with me many ideas about conservation as well as about the world and how it is functioning today."

The Aspen Institute is an international nonprofit organization that aims to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues.

In a unique partnership, AWF and the Aspen Institute last year collaborated to offer the seminar "Wildlife conservation and Human Well-being in Africa". Held near the Kruger National Park in South Africa, one of Africa's premier wildlife-viewing destinations, the seminars and discussions were attended by 25 participants and an influential cadre of African leaders, including former President of Botswana Sir Ketumile Masire; former South African Ambassador to the US, the honorable Barbara Masekela; highly acclaimed author and journalist R.W. Johnson; leading judicial figure on the continent and champion for those affected by HIV/Aids, Justice Edwin Cameron; and prominent international businessman and conservationist Jonathan Oppenheimer.

Along with Bergin, on hand at the seminar were AWF President Helen Gichohi and a team of AWF species researchers who are focusing on elephant, leopard and lion conservation efforts throughout Africa.

The combination of wildlife viewing, discussions, and special guests has fueled interest in making the event a regular feature in Aspen's Seminar series.

To read about the "Wildlife Conservation and Human Well-being in Africa" seminar, click here.

To learn more about the Aspen Institute Ideas Festival, click here.

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