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BARBADOS - "Village of Hope”,

Permission requested to use information from http://www.un.org


The above photograph shows Dr. Basil Springer, Chairman of Counterpart Caribbean (right) as he chats with St. Lucian reporter Ernie Seon. "Village of Hope”, a unique space to promote sustainable development was created during the first UN Global Conference on Sustainable Development forSmall Island Developing States in 1994. The late Dr. Colin Hudson supported by the then Governor-General of Barbados late Dame Nita Barrow was the mastermind behind the concept. More than 1,000 volunteers were mobilized to create this unique space and forty thousand, many of them school children, visited the 3,000 exhibits at the Village of Hope over the two-week period of the Conference. Due to its huge success, a permanent exhibition site, the Future Centre Trust, was established to capture the essence of the Village of Hope. Dr. Basil Springer was invited by Dr. Hudson to be Chairman of this Trust and a team of trustees, under the visionary guidance of Dr. Hudson, initiated the Future Centre model.

As an educational and scientific exhibition for tourists, residents and children alike, the Future Centre Trust introduces many to several aspects of the social, cultural, economic and spiritual aspects of Barbados. The Centre conducts practical demonstrations of eco-farming, permaculture, alternative energy sources, water reuses and highlights related issues pertaining to the environment and development. The Future Centre at Edgehill consists of both indoor and outdoor exhibits, also addressing global concerns that affect the entire planet and its eco-systems. The exhibits, including loss of biological diversity, global warming, genetic engineering of food, nature conservation, fresh water access, sustainable development to the tourist sector, coastal erosion and others, cover several environmental issues. As a model for other villages of hope, this Centre in Barbados can be a real inspiration to other countries, especially other small islands, as they educate and inform islanders and tourists on these issues. It is said that we do not inherit the earth from our fathers but, indeed, we borrow it from our children and the Centre can most importantly build linkages with youth. By tying up through school curriculum, a tremendous impact can be had on young people.

In 2001, the Future Centre Trust gave way to Counterpart Caribbean with Dr. Springer once again in charge. Counterpart Caribbean's vision now extends beyond Barbados to include the Caribbean and is an affiliate of Counterpart International, a 40 year-old Washington D.C. based development group with offices in 60 countries. At the Future Centre, Counterpart Caribbean is concerned with what we need to do today to preserve planet earth for future generations. The Future Centre, as an extension of Counterpart Caribbean, hopes to develop into a world-class exhibition model that can be expanded globally on a self-sustaining financial basis feasible for other small island states.

 

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