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Corfu, Town Hall Square

The Durrell School of Corfu opens each annual session with a symposium that examines themes of importance to the Durrells and to our world. The first symposium in 2002 took "Understanding Misunderstanding" as its central theme and it included distinguished leaders in politics, economics, the arts and environmental studies among its participants.

Keynote speakers in 2004 include: Gayatry Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University professor and cultural theorist; Lee Durrell from the Durrell World Wildlife Trust; and David Bellamy, internationally acclaimed ecologist and botanist.

Previous participants have included: John Brandon of the Asia Foundation; Elemer Hankiss, dean of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Marwan Bishara from the American Univerisity of Paris; and the environmentalist David Bellamy.

The Venetian Winged Lion



(24-28 September 2007)

The Durrell School of Corfu will host an international seminar on "Cleaning up the Mediterranean" at its Library and Study Centre, 24-28 September, 2007.

We invite submissions on aspects of marine science including overviews of recent research into the state and pressures of the marine and coastal Mediterranean environment, and topics such as the impact of tourism, urban and industrial pollution (control and prevention, de-pollution strategies); fisheries; aquaculture, conservation of protected and threatened species and areas; climate change; alien species; implementation of existing legislation; public awareness and educational angles.

Medusa Pediment, Corfu

In particular we hope to receive some submissions broadly inspired by the work of Gerald Durrell, who, like his brother Lawrence, was deeply committed to the Mediterranean Sea. Lawrence considered the Mediterranean "the central point, the pivot," "the heart" of Europe, although "an absurdly small sea." Gerald Durrell wrote, in "The Amateur Naturalist" (1982), p.306: "The seas of the world are treated as giant cesspools instead of living breathing organisms -- they have become the world'" dustbins for everything from nerve gas to sewage."

In "Two in the Bush" (1966) he summed up the situation as he saw it then: "We go on, year after year, all over the world... polluting one of our most vital commodities -- water -- with industrial filth... We now stand so aloof from nature that we think we are God."

The seminar will not concentrate on Gerald DurrellÕs ideas, nor will it concentrate on purely scientific or marine biological issues. Many of the problems of the Mediterranean are shared by other seas and oceans, and participants will be welcomed from all parts of the world.

Submissions will be welcome on the priority issues of marine science, fisheries protection and climate change, the impact of tourism, and especially on issues of industrial pollution in the Eastern Mediterranean (Turkey, Greece, Israel, Egypt), such as pollution by heavy metals, chemicals and unregulated industries. Overviews of recent research into the state and pressures of the marine and coastal Mediterranean environment will be welcome, and in relation to the monitoring and implementation of existing legislation.

Topics which may be addressed (but which do not exclude other topics):

  • Marine pollution (various types- industrial, sewage, petroleum leaks, agricultural, shipping)
  • Strategies for de-polluting and cleaning up the Mediterranean
  • Over-fishing and sustainable fishing (conservation; threats to mammals, fish stocks and marine species- turtles, sperm-whales, octopi, red tuna, dolphins, monk seals, young/undersized fish; fishing methods)
  • Priorities for education, action and public understanding (involvement of NGOs, young people, etc)
  • Mediterranean ecosystems, biodiversity and climate change
  • Tourism and coastal management
  • UNEP, FAO and EU perspectives, programmes and action plans (e.g. Horizon 2020)
  • The role and responsibilities of governments

The moderators for the seminar are expected to include Dr Argyro Zenetos, Research Director at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Dr Evangelos Papathanassiou, Director of the Institute of Oceanography at HCMR and Dr Fouad Abousasmra of UNEP/MAP, all of whom contributed to the key UNEP/EEA Report "Priority Issues in the Mediterranean environment".

Proposals (2 pages maximum), together with the author's CV, should reach the Durrell School by 5 June 2007 [email protected].

Presentations will be limited to 30 minutes each, with another 30 minutes allocated for discussion by participants, including resident faculty and the moderators.

Full texts of accepted presentations must be received by the DSC by 22 June 2007 in electronic form, to facilitate circulation to all participants in advance. The papers should not be read at the seminar, but spoken to, since they will have been read by the participants before the seminar opens.

The registration fee for the seminar will be 300 Euros for participants (to include costs of field classes) and 350 euros for those who wish to take part in discussions but who do not wish to present papers.

The authors of accepted proposals will be asked to give the DSC an assurance that they have secured adequate funding to enable them to take up the places offered to them.

The DSC cannot be responsible for any costs associated with travel, accommodation or insurance. Intending participants should consult the DSC website for details of accommodation available in Corfu.

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