Galapagos, Epicentre of the Second World Summit on Evolution

Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) will host the Second World Summit on Evolution, an evolutionary biology meeting to commemorate Darwin’s 200th birthday, between 22-26 August 2009, at its Galapagos Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS) located on the Galapagos Islands, an archipelago that inspired Darwin to define its theory that revolutionized our conception of the world in relation to the origin of all species, including humans.

The World Summit on Evolution is the largest gathering of evolutionary scientists, each time with more than 150 participants. It has been called “The Woodstock of Evolution”, bringing together experts and students from widely different areas of evolutionary biology that rarely have the chance to meet. Some of the world most-famous researchers working on evolution have participated, including Peter and Rosemary Grant, Niles Eldredge, Antonio Lazcano, Douglas Futuyma, Lynn Margulis, Ada Yonath, William H. Calvin, Daniel Dennett, among others.

Evolution is the natural process responsible for the huge diversity of life in our planet and has deep implications in all aspects of humanity. Evolutionary biology studies have been key factors for the development of novel source materials for the industry, for the prevention and control of infectious diseases, and for the design of new conservation strategies. The Galapagos Islands are not important just because of Darwin’s discoveries. An impressive amount of scientific studies have been developed over the years after his visit. As information increases on the flora and fauna of the islands and their ecological patterns, it is clear that the Galapagos are a living laboratory of evolution.

The goals of the summit are to join experts from different branches of evolutionary biology to discuss on the impacts of recent discoveries in order to integrate them inside the basic concepts of evolution. Also, to remind to the scientific community on the importance of the Galapagos Islands and the discoveries produced thanks to their particular natural resources. This summit will present the islands as a living and dynamic laboratory of evolution. And of course, promoting Ecuador, its researcher, and its academic institutions working to develop scientific knowledge.

The main subjects discussed during the Second World Summit on Evolution are:
– Origin of life.
– Evolution of plants and animals.
– Human Evolution.
– Evolution and infectious diseases.
– Evolution vs. creationism/ID: An entire session of the summit focuses directly on containing the spread of creationism and intelligent design while improving the public’s understanding of evolution throughout America and elsewhere.

Dates: 22 to 26 August 2009
Place: Campus GAIAS-USFQ and Conventions Centre of the Puerto Baquerizo Moreno Municipality, San Cristobal Island, province of Galápagos, Ecuador
Further information: http://wse2.usfq.edu.ec

Notes:
Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) is an Ecuadorian private non-profit liberal-arts university. Founded in 1988 by the Corporación de Promoción Universitaria (CPU)–its umbrella non-profit foundation, USFQ was the first totally private self-financed university in Ecuador. USFQ has a strong academic reputation, and in 2009 it was ranked 1st in Ecuador in relation to the number of peer-reviewed scientific publication. USFQ employs about half of the PhDs in Ecuador. USFQ is officially recognised by the Ministry of Education of Ecuador and accredited by CONESUP.

World Summit on Evolution
The World Summit on Evolution is an evolutionary biology meeting hosted at the Galapagos Islands by Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ. Its focus is on recent research and new advances in our understanding of evolution and the diversity of life. The First World Summit on Evolution took place between 09 and 12 June 2005 at the Galapagos Islands, it was widely-publicised by the most important national and international media.

Location
The World Summit on Evolution takes place at GAIAS, The Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences), an institute part of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. GAIAS was established in 2002 at the capital town of the Galapagos province, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on the island of San Cristobal, one of the largest of the Galapagos Island. The 4.5 hectares GAIAS campus is the only university campus on the Galapagos islands. GAIAS was founded on the principle that beyond being a college and center for the promotion and advancement of evolutionary science in Ecuador, it will become a first-rate institution for international students and researchers.

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