320 Delegates. 40 Countries. 5 days of discussions and presentations – the 10th World Bamboo Congress (WBC) held at Damyang, Korea, 17 – 22 September, 2015 was indeed a huge success and a big step forward towards embracing bamboo for a greener future. Damyang is the northernmost point on the Korean peninsula where bamboo can be found in abundance.
The city boasts of a Bamboo Theme Park (Daenamugol), a Bamboo Museum; and being a touristic attraction – it played the ideal host to the 10th WBC.
“For any professional that works with this amazing natural resource — whether a botanist, biologist, horticulturist, architect, artist, designer, businessperson, government representative, non-profit organization, or economist, the WBC has been an ideal opportunity to meet and develop collaborations in research and development, project or business development, while at the same time, advancing the social and environmental goals derived from the various applications of bamboo”, mentions the World Bamboo Congress Website. The first edition of WBC was held in Puerto Rico in 1984 and since then each WBC has initiated and put in place partnerships that have contributed to the growth of bamboo and made a difference to the environment and people across the world. These events have been uniquely informative, educational, culturally and intellectually challenging. The 10th WBC was a true testimony of this.
The WBC kicked off on the World Bamboo Day, September 18. On the occasion, World Bamboo Day, Founder, Kamesh Salam from India, and Royal Forest Department Director Sapol Boonsermsuk of Thailand provided some historical context to the Day, and Damyang-gun Governor Choi Hyungsik organized a ceremonial bamboo planting to honor the day.
The 10th WBC featured a number of insightful presentations and discussions. Keynote speakers included Kathleen Buckingham, Research Associate of the World Resources Institute; Bernice Dapaah of the Bright Generation Community Foundation; Yiping Lou, consultant and former Team Leader of the Forest Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Programme of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR); Pablo van der Lugt, Head of Sustainability & Innovation at Moso International BV; Simon Velez, award-winning Colombian architect and expert on building with Guadua; Manuella Mendes de Araújo and Hugo Gutierrez Céspedes of the Joao Santos Group, Brazil; Mauricio Mora Tello of Cerveza Bambusa Cholula, Mexico; Dirk Hebel, architect and professor at ETH University, Zurich, Switzerland, and collaborator at Future Cities laboratory in Singapore.
The 10th WBC also coincided with the World Bamboo Fair 2015 which exhibited ways to improve the value of bamboo featuring ecology, history, science, construction and Green Development.
A joint statement signifying mutual commitment to promoting bamboo globally was also signed during the WBC by the Governor of Damyang-gun, the President of WBO, and the Executive Director of WBO along with the with 320 participants from 40 countries attending the congress.
Six outstanding personalities were felicitated with the World Bamboo Pioneer Award at the 10th WBC for their pioneering work. The list included Zhu Zhaohua from China, Dr. Dina Nath Tewari from India, Choi Hyungsik, from South Korea, Jorge Moran Ubidia from Ecuador. The works of Charley Owen Younge, from the Netherlands and Thomas Soderstrom from USA were also recognized posthumously with the Bamboo Pioneer Award.
Christian Salandanan, an alumnus of the College of Architecture, bested 125 other entries to bag the “Encouragement Award” in the World Bamboo Design Contest. The contest had three categories: household goods, transportation and architecture. It seeks to encourage innovations in bamboo product design and initiatives to sustain the utilization of bamboo. Salandanan’s work proposed a government-initiated project that will utilize bamboo in the construction industry. This project was actually anchored on his undergraduate thesis.
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