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IPED Lecture Explores Biodiversity in a Modern World


Biodiversity in a Modern World

Isabella Rossellini discusses conservation issues during a Fordham lecture.

Isabella Rossellini, director of the Wildlife Conservation Network, says her group supports projects that protect cheetahs in Botswana and Namibia, wolves in Ethiopia, wild dogs in Africa, and wildcats in the Andean Mountains.
Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Actor and conservationist Isabella Rossellini told an audience at Fordham that it’s been her lifelong dream to work on environmental and species issues. Rossellini was at Fordham to help launch an ambitious lecture series sponsored by Fordham University’s International Political Economy and Development (IPED) program. Director of the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), Rossellini was one of five presenters who participated in the panel, “The Power of One: Social Entrepreneurs and Conservation,” on Jan. 24 in Pope Auditorium on the Lincoln Center campus.

Launched in 2002 to help conservation entrepreneurs around the world overcome the challenges of maintaining their projects, WCN helps local entrepreneurs incorporate as nonprofits, write grant proposals and raise funds.

“The most moving experience for me was visiting an African village where one rite of passage was to kill an elephant or a lion,” said Rossellini. “But once the villagers learned the species were endangered, they began to modify that tradition.”

Other groups represented on the panel included the Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship, the Equator Initiative and the Tides Canada Foundation.

The five-part IPED series, “Conserving Biodiversity in the Developing World, A Look at the Issues,” will address the economic, social, and legal issues associated with conservation.

“The objective is to involve Fordham in creating a dialogue between two parties that don’t normally come together: the conservationists and the developers,” said Nancy Gillis, conference coordinator and IPED student. “Each has a worthy goal, and there needs to be both conservation and development. But one can’t happen at the cost of the other.”

Upcoming lectures will address global issues such as genetically modified food, water use, land rights and fair trade. The series will culminate in a three-day conference, “The State of Our World: New Strategies for Development,” June 16 to 18 on the Rose Hill campus. For a complete list of upcoming lectures, visit the IPED website at

— Suzanne Stevens

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