EARTH held presidential inauguration and climate change forum
GUÁCIMO, COSTA RICA — At 10 a.m. March 9, the EARTH University community, special guests, representatives of the Costa Rican government, international diplomats and more gathered in a transformed campus gymnasium to witness the official transfer of presidential duties. A procession of esteemed University personnel filed in, followed by the presentation of the 52 flags that represent the homelands of all students and faculty members.
Tim Solso, president of the University’s Board of Directors, presided over the inauguration ceremony. In his remarks, he touched on the influential role of Dr. José Zaglul, University president from its founding in 1990 to 2016. “His impact will be felt for many years,” Solso said.
Solso then introduced Dr. Arturo Condo, describing his experience and demonstrated passion for education, before calling upon Condo to raise his right hand and repeat the oath. This exchange marked the first transition of presidential power in the University’s history. Upon being sworn in, Condo took to the podium.
In his remarks, Condo spoke to students about their societal responsibilities and EARTH’s greater purpose.“In accepting the responsibility of leading EARTH, I vow to keep us faithful to its mission and values. You, students, are here to create opportunities for many people in your communities,” Condo said. “I have been a witness to education’s transformative power in society. EARTH University enables people to turn into change agents who can improve our reality. I know that, together, we can leave a prosperous, just and sustainable world for the coming generations.”
Next, Ana Helena Chacón, vice president of Costa Rica, offered some memories about the first years of EARTH, when her father was a representative in the Costa Rican government, and the quality education it’s renowned for today.“The stories in EARTH are real and they still move us almost 30 years later. Today EARTH is known for its very high academic standards, for the nearly 800 active jobs it has created, and the very important sustainability projects it has underway,” Chacón said.
The inauguration closed with remarks from Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. She focused her speech on the principal challenges that agriculture faces and the global importance of having young people in agricultural careers for the future – a fitting introduction to the afternoon’s event.
The afternoon played host to “EARTH University and the Challenges of Global Sustainability” – a two-session forum aiming to gather input for the University’s 2021 strategic vision. EARTH’s role in the fight against climate change and its ability to usher in an era of community-led sustainable development were also key topics.
In the first session, EARTH University’s path toward the future was discussed, with a panel featuring Chacón, student José Carlos Rodríguez (’17, Costa Rica), and Yanine Chan, EARTH’s dean of academic affairs. EARTH Provost Daniel Sherrard moderated the discussion.
The second session focused on the necessity of including technology in the current agronomy curriculum, along with incorporating more software and applications in farming and increasing access to life-improving technology for small, remote growers. Professor Victor Morales, The MasterCard Foundation Scholar Perseverança Mungofa (‘17, Mozambique) and John McArthur, a senior fellow of the Brookings Institution, served as panelists while Condo served as moderator.Sometimes sustainability requires high-tech solutions. That’s why EARTH students learn how to operate drones to improve farming efficiency. – Victor Morales.