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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI Convocation to feature Worldwatch Institute founder

KINGSTON, R.I. -- August 31, 2001 -- Worldwatch Institute founder Lester R. Brown, described as "the guru of the environmental movement" and "one of the world’s most influential thinkers," will join the University of Rhode Island as it kicks off the new academic year and inaugurates its fall honors colloquium series, "A Just and Sustainable Future: Overcoming Barriers to Action" on Sept. 12.

Brown will speak on "Building an Eco-Economy for the Earth" during URI’s Convocation ceremonies in Edwards Auditorium, starting at 3 p.m. His talk will provide a picture of the dangers facing life on Earth if current patterns of energy and resource consumption continue.
The annual Convocation event, which is free and open to the public, also features the URI Foundation’s presentation of teaching, research, administrative, and staff excellence awards to members of the University community. Seating will be on a first come, first serve basis.

Brown has come a long way from his first job growing tomatoes on a southern New Jersey farm. Now as founder, president, and senior researcher for the Earth Policy Institute, he leads a mission to provide a vision of an environmentally sustainable economy.

The journey from farmer to global environmental leader has been marked by many remarkable accomplishments along the way. After earning a degree in agricultural science from Rutgers University in 1955 and spending the next six months in rural India, Brown began a 14-year career with the U.S. Government’s Department of Agriculture. During these years, Brown served as an international agricultural analyst, adviser to Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman on foreign agricultural policy, and administrator of the department’s International Agricultural Development Service.

In 1969, Brown left government service to help establish the Overseas Development Council, and then, in 1974, he founded the Worldwatch Institute, which became the premier research institute devoted to the analysis of global environmental issues. In 1984, Brown launched the State of the World reports, annual assessments translated into 30 languages that have become the bible of the global environmental movement. Four years later, Brown expanded Worldwatch’s publications by launching World Watch, a bimonthly magazine featuring articles on the Institute’s research.

In May 2001, he founded Earth Policy Institute, whose purpose is to provide a vision of an environmentally sustainable economy, a roadmap of how to get from here to there, and an ongoing assessment of this effort, of where we are moving ahead and where we are not.
Brown, a MacArthur Fellow, has been awarded 22 honorary degrees. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 1987 United Nations’ Environment Prize, the 1989 World Wide Fund for Nature Gold Medal, and the 1994 Blue Planet Prize.

His visit is sponsored by URI’s Office of the President and the University of Rhode Island Foundation.

For more information about the many other events of the URI Honors Colloquium, visit, or call the Honors Program at 874-2303.

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Lester Brown is available for media interviews by phone for the two weeks prior to his presentation. Please call Todd McLeish in the URI News Bureau at 874-7892 for contact information.)

For Information: Todd McLeish, 874-7892, Jennifer Smith, 874-2116

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