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BARD CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY TO HOST OPEN FORUM ON LEGACY OF AMAZON RAIN FOREST CHAMPION CHICO MENDES Renowned Panel Includes Andrew Revkin, New York Times Environmental Reporter and Author of The Burning Season: The Murder of Chico Mendes and the Fight for the Amazon Rain Forest

Darren O'Sullivan
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Sixteen years after the murder of rubber tapper, union leader, and environmentalist Chico Mendes, his fight to protect the Amazon rain forest stands as one of the most important and inspirational stories of the environmental movement. On Tuesday, November 9, The Bard Center for Environmental Policy, in conjunction with the Human Rights Project at Bard, will host an Open Forum, featuring a leading journalist and two environmentalists well acquainted with Mendes and his work, to explore his contributions to and the linkages between environmental and human rights protection. The forum, “The Legacy of Chico Mendes for Today’s Environmental and Human Rights Movements,” takes place at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center and is free and open to the public. “Chico Mendes’s heroic fight to stave off the destruction of the Brazilian rain forests and protect the rights of rubber tappers there stands as a seminal moment in the environmental movement,” said Joanne Fox-Przeworski, director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy and former director for North America of the United Nations Environment Programme. “His groundbreaking work and eventual murder have enormous implications, not only for safeguarding the environment but also for advocates of environmental protection.” The forum features Andrew Revkin, New York Times environmental reporter and author of The Burning Season: The Murder of Chico Mendes and the Fight for the Amazon Rain Forest; Stephan Schwartzman, codirector of Environmental Defense’s International Program and an anthropologist who worked directly with Mendes for years before he was killed; and Larry Cox, senior program officer, Ford Foundation Human Rights Unit. Andrew Revkin is one of America’s most honored science writers and has spent two decades covering subjects including murder in the Amazon, the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia, research on the floating ice cap at the North Pole, and the political clash over global warming. Since 1995, he has been a reporter for the New York Times, mainly covering the regional and global environment. Last year, he won the inaugural $20,000 National Academies Communication Award for print journalism, presented by the National Academy of Sciences. He has twice won the Science Journalism Award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (in 2002 and 1984) and, along with other prizes, has won an Investigative Reporters & Editors Award. He is the author of The Burning Season (new edition, fall 2004, Island Press), which won the Sidney Hillman Foundation Book Prize and a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, was published in nine languages, and was the basis for the award-winning HBO film of the same name, starring Raul Julia and directed by John Frankenheimer. He also wrote Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast (Abbeville, 1992), which accompanied the first museum exhibition on climate change, created by the American Museum of Natural History. He has been a senior editor of Discover, a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, and a senior writer at Science Digest. He has also written for the New Yorker, Audubon, Conde Nast Traveler, and other magazines. He is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and lectures frequently around the country on writing and the environment. He has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose, and many other programs. He has a biology degree from Brown and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia. He is a Fellow of the Explorers Club and an invited member of the New York Academy of Sciences. Revkin lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife and two sons. Stephan Schwartzman, codirector, International Program, Environmental Defense, creates strategies to protect tropical rain forests and their indigenous peoples, particularly the native peoples of the Brazilian rain forests. An experienced anthropologist, he promotes the adoption of environmentally sound lending policies by the World Bank, other multilateral development banks, and national governments. He has also worked as a senior scientist and staff anthropologist for Environmental Defense and as a visiting researcher for Instituto Socioambiental in Brazil. In addition, he has been an international representative, Instituto de Estudios Socio-Económicos (1986-1987); coordinator, U.S. Brazil Tropical Forest Action Network (1986); consultant, Anthropology Resource Center (1984-1985). He is the author or coauthor of numerous articles on tropical forest conservation and sustainable development strategies in such journals as Science, Conservation Biology, and Advances in Economic Botany. He has testified before Congress regarding these issues on behalf of Environmental Defense, National Wildlife Federation, and Sierra Club. He has a Ph.D. and an M.A. in anthropology from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Minnesota. Larry Cox, senior program officer, The Ford Foundation, Human Rights Unit, Peace and Social Justice Program. Cox’s work focuses on international human rights issues and events, international justice, and on advancing economic, social, cultural, and human rights in the United States. Prior to his role with the Ford Foundation, Mr. Cox was for five years executive director of the Rainforest Foundation, an international organization that works with indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon to protect their land and rights. He worked for Amnesty International (AI) for 14 years, holding a number of positions, including communications director, director of the Program Against the Death Penalty and deputy director of Amnesty International USA. He also served for five years as deputy secretary general of AI’s International Secretariat in London, which undertakes AI’s research and services its activist membership around the world. Mr. Cox has a B.A. in history from Mount Union College, has done graduate work at the University of Geneva, and is currently pursuing an M.A. in religion and human rights at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. The Bard Center for Environmental Policy promotes education, research, and public service on critical issues pertaining to the natural and built environments. Its primary goal is to improve the quality of environmental policies by incorporating the best available scientific knowledge into the policy-making process at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The Center’s innovative graduate program, launched in 2001, trains future leaders who can translate the science behind environmental and natural resource problems into creative, feasible policies. The Center’s unique modular program offers an intensive course of study, grounded in the sciences, as well as economics, law, politics, and ethics, and emphasizes communication skills and leadership training. After a period of internships, graduates are prepared for careers in nonprofit organizations, government, and the private sector. The program leads to a master of science degree or professional certificate in environmental policy, and the Center offers joint degree programs: a doctor of jurisprudence with Pace Law School, a master of arts in teaching with Bard College, a master of arts with the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture, and is affiliated with the Masters International program of the Peace Corps. Reservations are requested. For more information about the forum, please call 845-758-7073 or e-mail


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This event was last updated on 11-12-2004