Ambassador Gilmour Remarks
G.L.O.B.E. Regional Meeting
June 4, 2018
American Corner, University of Lome
Monsieur the Minister of the Environment
Monsieur the Minister of Health
Monsieur the Minister of Education
Monsieur the Coordinator of the GLOBE Program
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure for me to be with you this morning to open the GLOBE regional meeting. I understand we have participants here today from all across the continent and even from the U.S. Let me begin by saying thank you for your presence and welcome to Togo!
It is especially gratifying that this meeting is taking place here in Togo, because it was just a few months ago that Togo officially joined the worldwide GLOBE network. I want to take this opportunity to applaud the government of Togo for having taken this important step, which will permit Togolese students and teachers to connect and share scientific data with counterparts in 118 other countries. Thanks to this program, Togolese students will have the opportunity not only to learn about their local environment, but also to contribute meaningfully to our understanding of the global environment and climate.
Since the launch of the GLOBE program in 1995, more than 700,000 students from 30,000 schools have taken part in GLOBE activities. GLOBE students have contributed over 150 million measurements to the GLOBE database. This data has been an invaluable resource for researchers studying the effects of climate change.
However, the beauty of the GLOBE program is that its benefits go two ways. The scientific community benefits from the observations recorded by students in participating GLOBE schools, while the students themselves benefit by getting hands-on, practical experience in doing scientific research. This is vitally important, because science and technology are the keys to success in the 21st century economy, and for Togo to prosper we need more students studying Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (which we call STEM).
But we know that for too many young people in Togo, educational resources are limited, especially in the STEM fields. GLOBE can help address this problem, and I’m pleased to announce that today we will be distributing kits of specialized equipment donated by GLOBE that will allow students to make observations of soil, water, air, and temperature. The kits will be donated to five schools that have been identified as pilot schools for the GLOBE program in Togo.
In addition, we will place a sixth kit inside “Mo-Lab,” the U.S. Embassy’s mobile learning center that was created to bring educational materials and activities to every corner of the country. It is equipped with portable kits containing simple science, biology, chemistry, engineering, and robotics experiments. It also has computers inside, which permit students to access the internet and do coding exercises, and a homemade 3-D printer. Mo-Lab was designed and constructed by young Togolese inventors, and almost all the materials inside come from Togo. Starting today, Mo-Lab and GLOBE will be partners in promoting STEM education.
I will conclude with a final thought, first expressed by former President Barack Obama. Science, he said, is more than just a subject to study in school, it is an approach to life. “Science teaches us how to question assumptions; to wonder why something is the way it is, and how we can make it better.”
So to all of you here today who are promoting science education and inspiring the next generation of scientists who will make the world a better place, I say thank you and keep up the great work.
I wish you all a very enjoyable and productive conference