Wow, what a week! I’m not the only one to express those words….many of the participants said the same!
The 9th World Bamboo Congress kicked off unofficially in the lobby of the Lindner Hotel on Monday, 9 April, as participants came from their homes in Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, Switzerland, Argentina, USA, South Africa, and beyond to meet other “bamboo people” and share their experiences. The next day, officially, at the University of Antwerp, the 9th WBC opened with fantastic keynote presentations by Johan Gielis, Marc van Montagu, Lynn Clark, Walter Liese and Masatoshi Watanabe. Over 250 people were in attendance.
The program list is still up on the WBC website for those who want to see it, and the live-streaming is still available on http://mediasite.ua.ac.be/
Also, great news is that we will also have the official proceedings, all the papers submitted for publishing, available for download on the WBO website, as well as the powerpoint presentations as shown at the WBC. We need some days to acclimate post-WBC, so look for this update in early May. We’ll let you know!
After an amazing Opening Reception at the City Hall with the music of Take Dake, and three days at the University and 50 presentations later, we moved to a rural setting called DeKolonie. As guests of the Oprins family, our group arrived to this magnificient old brick barn, enhanced with a fantastic bamboo welcome gate created by Georges Cuvillier. Bamboo geodesic domes (created by BeBamboo) scattered around the building offering warm refuge and ambiance, and other works of bamboo art beckoned beyond. Inside the barn, bamboo products and projects were on display, and in the main hall, <trumpets sounding>, ambassador FLYBOO was soaring overhead! The creation of Michel Abadie (WBO President), this airplane made of bamboo has become a symbol for all that bamboo can do, and as messenger, it carried us all under its wings as we entertained two and half more days of 40 fascinating presentations, and great camaraderie. Saturday night brought a great concert by Take Dake, music from Indonesia by a contemporary anklung group, fireworks, lots of food and drink, open fires to keep us warm, dancing and hours to share together.
Sunday was simply an amazing finale. Following a progression of subjects all leading to the purpose of what bamboo can do, Gunther Pauli, founder of ZERI and the Blue Economy, gave a powerful and motivational presentation entitled, Bamboo: a symbol of the new economy.
This WBC was a tremendous collaboration of an amazing team of people in Belgium : IKEBANA: Johan Gielis, Geert Potters, Frances Schutte, Davina Van Goethem, Litsa Bogaerts, Luc Boeraeve and a gang of volunteers, Jan Oprins and his family, a scientific committee to review all of the papers, the facilities at UA, the artists and builders at DeKolonie, the musicians, etc.
But really what made the success was the fabulous attendance from over 30 countries, with prominent VIPs like the Bamboo Pioneers Walter Liese, Masatoshi Watanabe, Shuen Chao Wu, INBAR staff of Coosje Hoogendoorn and Jinhe Fu, as well as dedicated researchers from India like Nirmala Chongtham, phD students like Tara Afrin and Andrea Melnychenko, designers like Pablo van der Lugt , Rebecca Reubens, Kankana Dev, and all the <bamboo people> who have come together as a family to share and exchange and initiate the bamboo revolution. Thanks to all of those who came to Belgium.
My deepest respect and gratitude to you all.
Susanne Lucas, Executive Director, WBO