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Celebrating Colombia’s 200th anniversary, in London

Tuesday 20 July 2010.

“Colombia: Paradise of Biodiversity”

20 July 2010 is a special date: the 200th anniversary of the declaration of independence of Colombia. This occasion has been especially celebrated in Britain, a country which supported Colombia’s independence movement financially and militarily and where Simon Bolivar planned his independence struggle. The Natural History Museum in London hosted an event on 19 July 2010 entitled “Colombia: Paradise of Biodiversity” as part of the celebrations. This was introduced by Colombia’s ambassador to the UK, HE Mauricio Rodriguez and Natural History Museum director of science, Dr. Richard Lane. Among the 200 guests attending included former President of Colombia, Belisario Betancur.

Thomas Donegan, Blanca Huertas, former President Belisario Betancur and the ambassador of Colombia in the UK, Mauricio Rodríguez.

Blanca Huertas, the butterfly curator of the Natural History Museum, gave an illustrated and animated talk about Colombia’s unrivalled biodiversity, landscapes and habitats and the work of the Natural History Museum with the country, as well as her work with butterflies in South America. Thomas Donegan of ProAves then gave a talk about Colombia’s birds and their conservation, highlighting the conservation achievements of ProAves and giving attendees a preview of the forthcoming Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia. Afterwards, there was a wine reception for all participants. ProAves and EcoTurs were also represented in the event by Robert Giles and Angela Gómez.

Thomas Donegan and Blanca Huertas during the event.

On 20 July there was a celebratory meeting with MPs in the UK’s Houses of Parliament, followed by lunch at the Royal Automobile Club in London, at which Belisario Betancur gave a speech about the influence and thought leadership of the botanist Jose Celestino Mutis in the years prior to Colombia’s independence. These events were a wonderful way to celebrate Colombia’s greatest treasure – its biodiversity – on this important occasion. ProAves would like to thank the Natural History Museum, Colombian Embassy in the UK and ProExport for organising these occasions and allowing us to participate in them.

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