"The Gathering of Knowledge" is an initiative created in 2012 by the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its Consulates General in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver; with the objective of promoting a space that would allow the discussion, reflection and comprehension of global realities and their current issues.
This initiative emerged with the clear purpose of offering, through a process of collective learning, the creation of doctrines, promotion of educative environments, citizen participation and collective inclusion through all the scopes of social life: a fundamental premise for this Diplomatic Mission.
In past editions of the "Gathering of Knowledge", we have counted with the participation of world-renown, prominent personalities from the academic and investigative fields, among them are the following: Mr. Carlos Taibo (author, editor and tenured professor of Political Sciences at the Autonomous University of Madrid), Mr. Michel Chussodovsky (Canadian economist, author, emeritus professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa), Mr. Michel Collon (author, Belgian freelance journalist, war strategy specialist as well as expert on North-South relations and media/propaganda manipulation), Ms. Arleen Rodriguez Derivet (Cuban journalist and hostess of Cuban TV show "Mesa Redonda"), Mr. Jorge Valero (Venezuelan diplomat, Former Representative of Venezuela at the OAS and current Permanent Representative of Venezuela at the UN-Geneva), Ms. Otilia Lux de Coti (Guatemalan social leader and politician, executive director of IIWF), Ms. Moni Pizani (Venezuelan regional director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean), Mr. Yves Engler (Canadian author and political activist), among others.
The Fourth Edition of the "Gathering of Knowledge" was dedicated to the discussion and debate of environmental issues, specifically Climate Change, along with its impact on global ecosystems and their economies. For this edition of the event, we were honoured to count with the participation of: Dr. David Suzuki, Canadian scientist and environmentalist who cofounded the David Suzuki Foundation; Mr. Karel Mayrand, President of the David Suzuki Foundation for Quebec as well as President of the Climate Reality Project Canada founded by Al Gore; Dr. Isabelle Thomas Maret, specialist on sustainable development, urban vulnerability and regional development at the University of Montreal and M.S. Nicolas Turgeon, expert on air treatment and climate change at the Center for Industrial Investigation of Quebec (CRIQ).
The Fifth edition of the "Gathering of Knowledge" will be dedicated to the dialectical topic of Hydraulic Fracturing, or "Fracking", in regards to the process of oil and gas extraction. For the discussion of this topic, we will count on the opinions and points of view of experts on the matter, among them are the following: Dr. Marc Durand, who in his capacity as engineer-geologist and expert in geotechnical issues of Utica shale and other components from the Ordovician Geology of the Saint Lawrence river plains, will present a synthesis of research and analysis conducted in recent years in relation to the process of hydraulic fracturing.
Another expert in this topic who will honour us with his presence is Dr. Bernhard Mayer, a Professor of Geochemistry at the Department of Geosciences and Director of the Research Group of Applied Geochemistry from the University of Calgary. Dr. Mayer is also recognized as co-author and author of studies, articles and book chapters, which deal with a variety of geochemical topics, including CO2 sequestration, shale gas development, and water sources in the Athabasca oil sands of northern Alberta.
For the fifth "Gathering of Knowledge", we will also count on the participation of Ms. Jessica Ernst, an Alberta-based scientist from the oil and gas industry with thirty years of experience. She has dedicated the last decade in seeking justice for law violations on behalf of Encana and Alberta's regulators; and due to pollution of her community's drinking water supply, which was contaminated with methane, ethane and other chemicals derived from gas extraction through the use of Hydraulic Fracturing.
Hydraulic fracturing is an interesting process that is worth studying; it is a process that has a direct relation with water sources, such as groundwater reservoirs and springs. Some scientists have found an alleged correlation between fracking and telluric movements.
For the fifth "Gathering of Knowledge" we would like to host different views on hydraulic fracturing, as well as the available tools and options to ensure a balance between environmental protection and sustainable development.
In order to achieve this, it is required for individuals to develop a sense of awareness towards the appreciation and respect for their natural environment, as well as to count on the will and commitment on behalf of governments, world leaders, diverse sectors of society and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s).