Panel Discussion on Environmental Innovation in Agriculture (Bethlehem, West Bank)
Bethlehem, West Bank, Saturday, November 5, 2016
Thank you for warmly welcoming our Canadian delegation—we are delighted to visit the beautiful campus of Bethlehem University.
Having spent much of career as a leader of several Canadian universities, I have always believed that universities must support communities. I therefore commend Bethlehem University on its mission of service to the Palestinian people.
Today’s discussion on environmental innovation and agriculture is topical and timely.
It’s an important, exciting subject, one that’s full of promise and opportunity.
Canada is pleased to support the community garden project at this university.
The garden is a wonderful teaching tool. Bethlehem University students are learning about composting organic waste, creating and using natural fertilizers and recycling waste.
I’m sure they’re also having fun doing it, and learning about the pleasures and benefits of sustainable agriculture.
Canadians are enthusiastic about sustainability and environmental innovation. The challenges our planet faces demand innovative solution. A growing number of Canadians are actively involved in community gardens and other sustainability initiatives. These help us achieve food security in an environmentally-responsible way, while serving a growing population. In the West Bank, we cannot overestimate the importance of this issue, given the centrality of agriculture in Palestinian life.
These kinds of initiatives are an area of common ground between people in Canada, people in this region, people around the world.
As such, it’s an area of partnership and great potential.
Today’s discussion can help us identify the challenges and opportunities facing us. Innovation is about finding new and better ways to do things and to create value, and sharing knowledge and ideas is critical to success. Doing so helps us to build better societies.
It all starts with talking to each other, so let’s have a frank discussion.
Time and again in my life, I’ve seen wonderful things happen when diverse peoples come together to solve problems and think creatively.
Canada is a learning nation, an innovation nation, and we’re working hard to achieve sustainability that balances the needs of the present with those of future generations.
Your presence here today tells me you share the same goal, and I thank you for your efforts.
A distinguished panel will provide their thoughts on environmental innovation and agriculture, and I hope this will give rise to a lively discussion.
I wish you all the very best, and look forward to hearing your thoughts.