Sir David Attenborough officially launches the CCI Conservation Campus

4th April 2013

Sir David Attenborough’s entire speech during the CCI Conservation Campus launch can be viewed here

An inspiring and insightful lecture by Sir David Attenborough in the University of Cambridge Senate House on April 02, 2013 was attended by over 400 guests and marked the official launch of the Cambridge Conservation Campus. The Campus, due to be complete towards the end of 2015, will become the hub for the world’s largest conservation cluster, the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI). It will be an international centre of interdisciplinary collaboration and outreach that will transform conservation research, policy and practice for the benefit of biodiversity and humanity.

Speaking at the launch, Sir David said: “The world’s biodiversity urgently needs research-driven, innovative and practical solutions for its conservation. By coming together on the Conservation Campus, CCI partners will be better able to integrate their distinct and complementary strengths to tackle the complex challenges facing the natural world in exciting new ways.” In his lecture Sir David reflected on the development of the conservation movement particularly in the UK regaling the audience with his trademark infectious enthusiasm. He described the creation of CCI as  “ an extraordinary marriage between outstanding practical conservationists and inspiring intellectual thinkers which will shape the future of life on Earth.”

CCI Executive Director Dr Mike Rands while speaking at the launch said: “The Campus will drive a massive step change in our collaborations and in our worldwide impacts. It will enhance our convening power and ability to engage new audiences worldwide.”

A special guest of honour who graced the event was the former Chancellor of the University, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, a renowned naturalist and the International President of WWF until 1996.

In his opening remarks the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz explained “the University of Cambridge is delighted to be part of such an important and strategic initiative; CCI reflects the University’s commitment to collaborate interdisciplinary research and teaching to deliver  practical conservation solutions.” 

Four students from the current MPhil in Conservation Leadership – a unique multidisciplinary Masters Programme developed and delivered by the CCI partners – also gave short presentations about how the course will help shape their conservation careers and what being a part of the Cambridge experience and CCI means to them.

The new Campus, to be located at the heart of Cambridge, will provide a series of shared spaces, facilities and services for the global conservation community, and is being designed to encourage effective collaboration. It will bring together more than 500 professional conservationists from across University departments and leading conservation organisations, providing an intellectually stimulating environment to drive debate and knowledge exchange and excellent linkages to a wide array of institutions, organisations and networks worldwide. The Campus will be a focal point for promoting the wonders and values of biodiversity to people, championing conservation innovations and solutions, and stimulating new debate and thinking in sustainable living.

The CCI Brochure produced for the event gives an overview of the collaborative initiative. It gives a snapshot of some of the current programmes and projects of CCI and also highlights the plans for the new Conservation Campus.