Florida Memorial University (FMU) Honors Program Hosts First Global Videoconference

by Terrence Narinesingh
Honors Program Newsletter
May 12, 2006

See .pdf version at http://www.aidemocracy.org/fmustory2.pdf

On Tuesday, April 18, 2006, Florida Memorial University (FMU) Honors Program hosted the first global videoconference on the FMU campus entitled, “Securing the Future: Global Warming, Energy and the Role of Local Communities in the Global Environment.”

The videoconference was held in Lehman 202 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. It linked FMU to presentations from overseas sites which included Ecuador, Benin, Romania, Bolivia and three U.S. colleges/universities: Florida Memorial University, American University, and Dartmouth College. The videoconference was organized by Americans for Informed Democracy (AID), a non-partisan organization that seeks to increase global awareness among students, with the ultimate goal of promoting an informed U.S. role in the world.

The lead moderator at American University, Ms. Kira Christie, called on each site to pose brief questions and comments. Each site then opened with individual presentations. Director of the Center for Urban Environmental Studies (CUES)/Honors Program Science Professor, Dr. William E. Hopper, gave a brief opening presentation in response to the questions: What does the changing global environment mean for the future security, health and well being of the Unites States? What is the role of local communities in ensuring a sustainable local and global environment? “In the absence of responsible environmental leadership at the national level in the United States, it is more and more important for local officials and organizations to take the lead in effecting change, to reduce the production of greenhouse gases by increasing energy efficiency in all areas. Individual shareholders and consumers must also bring pressure on corporations, such as ExxonMobil, to act more like their international competitors, British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell, which are moving towards alternative energy sources. Universities and Non-Governmental Agencies must also continue to bring the issue of global climate change to the attention of students and the general population. Only then will officials in Washington do what is required to protect the welfare of all earth citizens,” Dr. Hopper said.

Editor-in-Chief of the FMU Honors Program Newsletter and Journal, Terrence Narinesingh, asked: “What international pressures can be brought on the U.S. to encourage it to adopt the Kyoto Protocol.” The response by the moderator at American University was that the Bush Administration isn’t generally responsive to international pressures but individual Americans can influence the Government by raising the issue during the midterm elections and voting for candidates who will support policies that address the issue of Global Warming. At the end of the videoconference, the moderator brought the discussion to a close ten minutes before the time was up and allowed each presenter from the sites to give a one-minute closing remark. At FMU, the audience consisted of Executive Vice President and Provost, Dr. Karl S. Wright; Assistant Provost, Dr. Sandra T. Thompson; Faculty Senate President, Dr. Carrol Christian; Honors Program Director, Dr. Randy R. James and English Professor, Dr. Keshia Abraham and several Honors Program students. According to Dr. Hopper: “It was a great opportunity to interact with people from various countries and learn about their views on global issues.”

Florida Memorial University is a private four-year, co-educational historically Black College located in Miami, Florida, and accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

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