Dinner with a real African Princess

The exotic life I lead! In just a couple of weeks I will be back to the African continent again, except this time to the sun and spices of Morocco.
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I applied to speak up the World Environmental Education Congress back in the fall, not knowing if they would actually accept my application or not. In fact, I submitted two papers, in hopes that one would be accepted. Well I should’ve known… Murphy’s Law. Both were excepted! And so in a couple weeks I amoff on a whirlwind one-week trip to Marrakesh.

It’s been 16 years since I was last in Morocco. The last time I was staying in three dollar a night hotels, with questionable locations and the occasional bedbug. Not that I’ve become so fancying any year since, however I think that I will for myself at least $50 a night this time.

Morocco, to my recollection, was one of the most wonderful places I visited in the world. I can’t wait to go back.

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The design! All the amazing Islamic architecture with the repeated patterns and tile work. The leatherwork, the fabrics, the carpets! And of course… The best part is the food. I have never been anywhere in the world that is as fragrant and exotic has Morocco. Of course I haven’t been to India! But, the smell of the souks in the spice markets are forever emblazoned on my brain. I’m looking forward to eating pigeon and tangine and pistachios and all sorts of delicacies. Although I actually lost several pounds in Ethiopia, I can guarantee that I will be coming home for Morocco a little bit rounder. Which is unfortunate, because I have to fit into a ball gown at the very end of the week.

Super cool! I get to have dinner with the real African princess: Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco. She is the chair of the prince’s environmental charity, and is hosting a formal evening in ancient Moroccan ruins outside that I get to attend into splendid formal attire. Dinner with the real African princess… It doesn’t get better than that.

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Of course it goes without saying that I am looking forward to learning in hearing some of the amazing speakers as well. Some people I’ve only met through videotape will be there in person. And I expect, and I will meet some old acquaintances from other conferences as well.

In case you’re interested, I’m presenting on two topics…

Communities of Practice for Green Economy Entrepreneurs: Learning Together and Building a Subculture’s Identity

Sometimes it isn’t easy making a living by being green; however with informal learning communities, eco-minded entrepreneurs interact and improve their business practices. This presentation identifies the learning roles entrepreneurs can play in a green economy, the community’s collective benefits and ways to strengthen the interactions between community participants. Real-life examples from a small Canadian city highlight aspects of knowledge creation, shared values, tribal communications and practical acumen.

Integrating Sustainability Across the Higher Education Curriculum: A Systems Approach for Institutional Deep Change

This session explores the barriers to educational reform within higher education institutions, why traditional organizational change models don’t work, and best practice workarounds from inside and outside the sector. Barriers include traditional discipline silos, missing fundamental sustainability knowledge, a lack of social connectivity and norms between instructors and the power dynamics of the academic system. A whole system approach is suggested to address the decision making processes and communication flows unique to higher education.

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