As part of the inauguration of the American Center in Antananarivo, the U.S Embassy and the Ranomafana Valbio Center and MICET (Madagascar Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments) jointly organized on September 16 a screening of the IMAX film “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar”, featuring Stony brook University’s Distinguished Professor and Primatologist Dr. Patricia Wright and narrated by Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman. The screening was followed by a discussion on how to address the continuing challenges of deforestation, slash-and-burn agriculture, and trafficking in rare woods and animals. The discussion was led by the leader of Tarika band Hanitrarivo Rasoanaivo, who made all the songs in the film, and Mr. Benjamin Andriamihaja national representative of ICTE (Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments) in Madagascar and founder of MICET.
The film, released in the United States on April 4, 2014, “takes audiences on a spectacular journey to the remote and wondrous world of Madagascar, where lemurs arrived millions of years ago as castaways, have since evolved into hundreds of diverse species, but are now highly endangered. The film highlights the tireless efforts of trailblazing scientist Dr. Patricia C. Wright and her lifelong mission to help these strange and adorable creatures survive in the modern world.”
This activity marks the continuation of the U.S. Embassy’s commitment to promote the protection of Madagascar’s environment. Since 2011, the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section, despite the 2009 political crisis, has partnered with the Stony Brook University’s Valbio Research Center within the Ranomafana National Park and its local partner, MICET, for a four-year project to promote conservation, sustainable tourism and community development in the region. Along with well-known Malagasy musician Hanitra Rasoanaivo, the Embassy’s Public Affairs Section worked together to develop a recording studio inaugurated on June 19 in Centre ValBio, to promote the use of music to promote conservation themes among young Malagasy people.