York U. launches Colloquium on the Global South


Internationally renowned activist Pat Mooney to examine impact of new technologies on biodiversity and marginalized groups

TORONTO, September 27, 2004 -- As part of a new Colloquium series on the Global South, internationally renowned researcher and activist Pat Mooney will warn about the potential health and environmental risks of bio and nano-technologies in talks he will deliver Wednesday, Sept. 29 in room 305 York Lanes.

 His 10:30 a.m. talk will address the scientific debate around new technologies and at 2:30 p.m. he will address the impact on the global south of corporate control over such technologies.

 Mooney is part of a colloquium series on the Global South -- which will take place most Wednesdays during the academic year -- organized by the new University Consortium on the Global South (UCGS) at York.

 “The objective of the Colloquium is to create an open space for dialogue and debate among faculty, graduate students, policy makers, visiting speakers, social activists and NGO's”, says Peter Vandergeest, a member of the UCGS steering committee and director of the York Centre for Asian Research. “The Colloquium will address a number of issues, including human development, equity and social justice, ecology and sustainability, gender, ethnicity and racialization, rural and grassroots development, North-South relations, global-national-local links, and public policy. It will provide a venue for trans-disciplinary approaches to these issues, reaching beyond regional limits.”

York University has one the largest concentrations of scholars in Canada doing critical research on global South issues.

“The Consortium will be an open and inclusive forum where participants will offer a broad spectrum of critical perspectives on the Global South. This initiative arises from a growing recognition that orthodox development practices and neoliberal restructuring are not conducive to equitable and sustainable human development”, says Ricardo Grinspun, UCGS steering committee member and director of a CIDA-AUCC funded project on sustainable rural development in Chile in York’s Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean (CERLAC).  “This initiative recognizes widespread social exclusion and human insecurity and the need to pursue social justice through alternative analysis. And it will also encourage critical analysis of Canadian policies toward the Global South, and of the Global South’s presence in Canada,” he adds.

About the University Consortium on the Global South

The University Consortium on the Global South (UCGS) is a new interdisciplinary initiative based at York that will encourage academic engagement with the Global South, broadly defined. York faculty responsible for this initiative, most of whom have been working with a particular regional focus (e.g., Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East, Canada), recognize that problems and issues increasingly transcend regional boundaries. The Consortium will encourage research collaboration, new initiatives, and a more active role in training and education. It will also allow York to deepen its links with academic, governmental and non-governmental groups working along similar lines. It will stimulate new forms of critical research by encouraging methodologies such as action research.

In addition to the colloquium, other activities will be organized during the academic year, including workshops and conferences, a graduate student symposium, and a fair trade initiative. A conference on indigenous and aboriginal issues is planned for February 2005, as well educational activities oriented to undergraduate students in the context of International Development Week.

About Pat Mooney

Pat Mooney is the Executive Director of the ETC Group (Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration), based in Ottawa. For more than thirty years, Pat Mooney has worked with civil society organisations (CSOs) on international trade and development issues related to agriculture and biodiversity. The author or co-author of several books on the politics of biotechnology and biodiversity, Pat Mooney received The Right Livelihood Award (the "Alternative Nobel Prize") in the Swedish Parliament in 1985 “...for helping the third world preserve its plant genetic resources." In 1998 Mooney received the Pearson Peace Prize from Canada's Governor General. He also received the American "Giraffe Award" given to people “who stick their necks out". Pat Mooney has no university training, but is widely regarded as an authority on agricultural biodiversity and new technology issues.

Future talks in the series include:

·          Perspectives on the Recurring Crises in Sudan -- October 6

·          Linking Social Movements and Struggles in Southeast Asia -- October 13

·          Water Struggles in Local and Global Contexts (Bolivia, Ontario, South Africa) -- October 20

·          Developing Countries and Standards in Global Trade -- October 27

·          Conceptual Perplexity of Food Security -- November 3

·          Globalizing Work, Globalizing Citizenship: Migrant Worker Alliances in Southwestern Ontario -- November 10

·          Why Blaming Women’s Fertility is Bad Environmental Policy -- November 17

York University is the leading interdisciplinary teaching and research university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto, Canada’s most international city.  The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 180,000 alumni worldwide. York’s 10 faculties and 21 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries.  This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges.

Colloquium abstracts and speaker bios can be found at: http://www.ucgs.yorku.ca


For more information, the media should contact:
Ken Turriff, York U. Media Relations, 416-736-2100, x22086 / kturriff@yorku.ca