Brock prof’s appointment as UNESCO Chair renewed

Brock University Biological Sciences Professor Liette Vasseur’s appointment as UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability: From Local to Global has been renewed for four years.

Vasseur recently travelled to France for the 30th anniversary of the UNESCO Chairs Network to speak about the role Chairs play in biosphere reserves. Her role, in particular, is meant to help build capacity in sustainability science research and its practical transfer to society.

Of the 900 UNESCO Chairs worldwide, 500 were in attendance for the event, which was held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

The overall theme of the event was one of hope for the next 30 years of planning, in addition to stressing the importance of collaboration at all levels, Vasseur said.

The group celebrated the International Day of Biosphere Reserves (in Canada, now being called biosphere regions) for the first time on Nov. 3. The day highlights the contribution and importance of the biosphere reserves to sustainable development in collaboration with all the regions of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

Vasseur was invited to provide reflections for the event’s first plenary, “Responding to Multi-dimensional Crises: Implications for research.”

She emphasized the importance of interdisciplinarity and working with communities to ensure the work of UNESCO Chairs can have impact. She then presented in a parallel session on the importance of integrating different ways of knowing — such as Indigenous knowledge — into research for communities, especially focusing on biosphere regions.

“We must learn from everywhere and not stay in silos,” said Vasseur. “One goal is to enhance community sustainability by ensuring research becomes practices and creates policies.”

Translating academic research into actionable community progress can be challenging. Providing opportunities for scientists to collaborate directly with communities affected by environmental and climate issues will become essential to finding solutions.

“Open access to science provides the best opportunities for advancement and in my opinion, we are obligated to enhance and support communities,” said Vasseur. “It’s a social contract we must sign.”

Read more stories in: Community, Faculty & staff, Mathematics and Science, News, People
Tagged with: , , , ,