President Stanley in Africa
President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. traveled to Madagascar and Kenya this summer to experience Stony Brook University’s commitment to improving lives around the world. During his two-week adventure, he visited three sites that feature some of Stony Brook’s most far-reaching research and development efforts.
Day One – Journey to Madagascar
My journey to one of the world’s most unique and biologically rich places on Earth has begun. I have flown for more than 23 hours and have now arrived in Madagascar, an island approximately 300 miles east of southern Africa, across the Mozambique Channel. About the size of Texas or France, Madagascar is famous for its lemurs (primitive relatives of monkeys, apes and humans), brightly colored chameleons and bizarre insects. With its brilliant fauna and spectacular landscapes, Madagascar is one of the world’s top conservation priorities.
I am here as part of my ongoing support of Centre ValBio (CVB), a Stony Brook-affiliated organization committed to protecting endangered wildlife and threatened habitats, as well as providing aid to the local villagers. CVB was created in 2003 by Stony Brook Professor and world-renowned primatologist, Dr. Patricia Wright to help both indigenous people and the international community better understand the value of conservation in Madagascar and around the world. (Pat is second from left in the photo above of our flight to Madagascar, along with Sam III and my wife, Dr. Ellen Li.) Its three primary missions are to promote world-class research, develop sustainable economic development programs with the locals, and provide the villagers with the knowledge and tools necessary to improve quality of life and ultimately reduce poverty in the area.
During my weeklong stay I will be traveling to, among other regions, Ranomafana National Park, a place of stunning beauty and abundant natural diversity, where under the direction of Dr. Wright, CVB has a world-class research station sited on the edge of this magnificent park. I will be joined by many local dignitaries, scientists, professors, students, musicians and artists to celebrate the inauguration of CVB’s latest endeavor, NamanaBe (Friendship) Hall, and cheer on Dr. Wright as she receives the Commandeur Medal of Honor from the Malagasy Republic.