Project X is a two-part quest, which will see Richard attempt to complete the fastest and longest solo, unsupported and unassisted Antarctic polar expeditions in history.
On October 28th he will leave the UK to attempt to break Christian Eide’s Antarctic speed record. Richard will be aiming to record the fastest solo, unsupported and unassisted journey to the South Pole.
Here is the latest report from our Grantee Robert Simpson:
From May-August, I undertook a research trip to South Sudan, followed by overland travel to Uganda to visit old friends, Rwanda to learn and then back through Uganda to Kenya to come home! So lots of coach miles!
South Sudan itself was absolutely fascinating. Independent for just two years, there are massive challenges. There are just a few hundred miles of paved roads, mostly around the capital, Juba and leading to the southern border with Uganda. Schools and hospitals suffer from staff and resource shortages.
My particular focus was on the potential of Interactive Radio Instruction to make up for gaps in the education system, given widespread need for access to quality education, a lack of teachers and a permanent shift to English as language of instruction. The trip entailed lots of trips to different classes across three states, and interviews with learners, teachers and outreach officers.
Ultimately, whilst radio is a wonderful resource in theory for rolling out education, there proved to be a number of problems due to the context: broadcasting shows, accessing resources and the capacity of the teacher. At the end of the day, regardless of the quality of the educational radio programme itself, the teacher/facilitator in the classroom itself has an absolutely critical role. As a result, emphasis needs to be placed on teacher training.
South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly for independence (more than 99% said 'yes') and as such, there was a great deal of hope and ambition soon after 2011 that the country could be 'born again' in some sense. Two years on, conflict is prevalent at the northern border with Sudan and internally as domestic tensions rise. Furthermore, corruption, particularly at the political level, runs the risk of disenfranchising the population from the developing 'democratic' system. Hopefully, however, some of the optimism that still exists can be capitalised upon to push forward South Sudan's development.
It was a fabulous trip and the round-the-world experience had certainly helped prepare me for it. Furthermore, I have another thanks to pay to the Circumnavigators Foundation! At the end of the month, I am to begin work with Save the Children in London, before heading out on a six-month field placement with them in March. I have no doubt that the experience of Circumnavigators on my CV was a major factor in helping me to secure the role ahead of other candidates, and it certainly provided me with a wealth of experience and evidence to support my application.
So thanks once again!
Solar Impulse Update
10 years ago, when we set out to build a solar powered airplane that could fly day and night without fuel, many thought it was impossible. Today with Solar Impulse, we have an incredible ambassador for clean technology.
Now, it’s time to take our project to the next level and create an influential global movement to promote the use of clean technology. Here’s what we’re going to do: as we fly across the United States, we’re going to use every opportunity to encourage governments, CEOs, and other decision-makers to support and deploy clean technologies.
If we deliver this message by ourselves, people could say we're just two crazy guys with a solar airplane. But thanks to you, we are not alone. When Solar Impulse flies the Across America mission we’ll be carrying your name -- and the names of all our Friends -- in the cockpit with us, as virtual passengers. The more people we have with us in the plane, the stronger our influence will be on the ground.
This is a global effort that needs support from people living on every continent, and there are two big ways you can help us to be successful:
Click here to share with your friends on Facebook (they’ll have the chance to add their name.) If you don't have Facebook, you can forward the email below to at least five of your friends.
We won’t share your information with anyone -- but we will share the total # of Friends with the media to show the strength of our movement.
We are also carrying 5 flags with us inside the cockpit. Each flag displays a “Clean Generation” message. After landing in Phoenix, we presented the first flag to the Governor of Arizona in front of the cameras. It was a big success! In each stopover, we’ll continue to proudly wave one of the flags -- the physical symbol of our supporter community -- and hand it over to the highest possible authority to inspire citizens, CEOs, and key opinion leaders to encourage our pioneering clean energy spirit.
Message from our UK President Helen Jenkins
Please show our Circumnavigators support by logging on to Bertrand’s web site, then press join in too add email address.
There is no cost but is so important to Bertrand that we are supporting him. All names will travel in the cockpit so we may be part of this amazing journer
UK Chapter President Circumnavigators Club
We are pleased to confirm that Sir David Attenborough will be joining us on 27 June for a showing of a special edition of Sky’s landmark series Galapagos 3D at London’s 195 Piccadilly, the home of BAFTA. The showing of the 3D film will be followed by a Q&A with Sir David, the series producer Anthony Geffen and Galapagos conservationist Felipe Cruz.
Guests will be welcomed to the event with a drinks reception and will be invited to enjoy a black tie dinner following the Q&A.
This promises to be a popular event so be sure to book your tickets today via our website or by calling the office on 020 7399 7440 to avoid disappointment. We look forward to seeing you there.
UK Chapter’s Christmas Lunch 17 Dec 2012
Lord Inchcape Lord Faulkner Trevor Fishlock
Charline Evans and Rosie Swale Pope MBE and our Grant recipients for 2011.
Back row. Harry Boulding, Trevor Fishlock, Dr Paul Redmond, Robert Simpson
Front row Clare Wormald, Helen Jenkins, Lord Faulkner, Samantha Redmond
The House of Lords London UK was again the prestigious venue for our annual Christmas lunch. As friends and members we dined in style in the Attlee room hosted by CC Lord Faulkner of Worcester. We were delighted that Lord Inchcape could join us too.
Our guest speaker was Trevor Fishlock with his wife Penny. Trevor has had vast travel experience as former foreign correspondent to the Times and Daily telegraph as well as a prolific writer and TV presenter. We could have listened for hours to his tales presented in a soft, melodic voice whilst painting pictures with words.
We were well supported by the University of Liverpool with Sir Howard Newby and Dr Paul Redmond who has led the tutoring and selection of the foundation grant students. Robert Simpson, Claire Wormald and Harry Boulding are establishing themselves as travellers and explorers and spoke about their foundation experiences.
We were also joined by members of the Welsh Women Walking group who as well as participating in local walks each month have travelled extensively around the world raising much needed funds for charity. Their last trek was to Base Camp Everest and they raised £30,000 for Marie Curie.
Sadly, all too soon the lunch and speeches and happy socialising had to finish and we began to start our journey home but not after doing the last minute Christmas spend at the House gift shop purchasing the fine port and chocolates.
The lunch was a huge success and we have certainly created a prestigious and enjoyable annual event
Our plans for Mon 9 December 2013 are well on their way so book in diary now!
Helen Jenkins UK Chapter President Circumnavigators Club
Richard Parks is currently on a Solo Expedition to the South Pole
Follow his adventure here: http://www.richardparks.co.uk/
Tori James The First Welsh Woman and the Youngest UK Woman to climb Everest has just launched her book Peak Performance
Circumnavigator Charline Evans is continuing to explore new places, she has now moved from China and is living in the Middle East . More updates to follow so keep visiting !
2012 has got off to an adventurous start for the Circumnavigators UK Club with exciting updates from our UK President Helen Jenkins, Our Circumnavigators
We shall of course be holding our usual events in London and Cardiff throughout 2012 and our now Annual Lunch at the House of Lords Westminster London in December, so watch this space for more Updates
Walking for Charity
Our UK President Helen Jenkins is a keen walker and participated in a Charity Literary Walk from Bisley Village to the Hay on Wye Festival a three day walk raising Funds for the Charity Ty Happus. The former Wales and New Zealand coach Graham Henry is patron of the Welsh Charity which helps people with early onset Alzheimer’s. It was Founded by Justine Pickering, whose mum began suffering from the disease in her 50s, the charity is opening a respite centre and drop in café facility for people living with early onset dementia in the Vale of Glamorgan and surrounding areas.
From Wales to China to MENA - (Middle East and North Africa)
Circumnavigator Charline Evans spent January - May 2012 Teaching and traveling around China, South Korea and Mongolia.
She has now been offered a Teaching Position in MENA and is moving out there in August 2012 where she will live and work and organise her projects from there. Her updates can be found at www.globalclassroom.co.uk/page7.php
Charline is also supporting the Earth Pyramid Project an exciting new project building a full size Pyramid as a Peace Monument for Children Around the Globe http://www.earthpyramid.org/
Liverpool University Grants Update
In 2011 the Circumnavigators Club UK and Liverpool University awarded two travel grants. The projects have now been completed and a synopsis can be found below:
I travelled to China to explore the current role of the English language in the most populated country in the world. I wanted to explore the motivation behind the increasing numbers of English language speakers and to see the extent to which being a speaker of English in China was a means for better job prospects.
My research was designed to look specifically at the motivation behind learning English and how the EFL syllabus in education prepares individuals for employment; it was entitled China: The impact of the changing status of the English language in areas of Compulsory Education, Further Education, and Employment.
Research into the relationship between the English language and globalisation is extensive and so I felt it was important to look at this relationship as it exists in the present. As such, I spent six weeks in China and split my time evenly between two provinces whose reputations are, to a large extent, built upon the bed rock of globalisation; Beijing and Suzhou. Suzhou is located in the southeast of Jiangsu province, Eastern China and is home to the Sino-Singaporean’s joint district, Suzhou Industrial Park. My time in the SIP district of Suzhou allowed me the freedom to visit a number of educational institutions and international businesses where the importance of the English language was highlighted. Suzhou provided me with extensive research material and the things I learned here really provided the basis of my research. However, once I had travelled out of Suzhou and into Beijing it became apparent that although I had already spent half of my time in China, I had not really seen or experienced China at all.
Beijing, despite being the capital city and home to countless international corporations, was worlds away from the Westernised and international ethos of Suzhou’s SIP district. People back home were quick to warn me that I would experience a ‘culture shock’ and although I fully expected this I was surprised to only be hit by it in a capital city half way through my trip. I had read countless articles about China’s ‘new industrial revolution’ but I wasn’t expecting, nor was I prepared for, the sun being overshadowed by the smog which hangs over Beijing like an ominous presence; I knew I was travelling to the most densely populated country on earth but I wasn’t expecting to have to share an escalator step with two other people in the tube stations (regardless of location or time of travel); I knew the distribution of wealth was uneven but I certainly was not expecting people to be living in tents a few miles outside of the city. It was during the final three weeks of my trip that I was acutely aware of the fact that I was no longer in England.
Despite the initial culture shock I experienced whilst in Beijing I enjoyed my time there enormously. The unpleasantness of the smog and crowded stairways made finding attractions such as Summer Palace and Shidu Scenic Area all the more inspiring. However, in saying this, the highlight of my trip still remains undecided between climbing the Great Wall and going around the Olympic Stadium on a Segway!
It is a year ago this week that the idea of travelling to China to carry out this research materialised. 12 months ago I was in my second year studying for an undergraduate degree in English, the furthest I had travelled alone was to London, and I had been known to get homesick walking to the local shop. Although I had applied to the Circumnavigators I had not foreseen the events of this past year. Today, I am in the full throws of the final year of my English undergraduate degree; I have travelled over 15,000 miles round trip to China unaccompanied; I have completed a research report that I am hugely proud of; and I have presented my findings to an array of audiences which included the Vice Chancellor and Pro Vice-Chancellors of the University and academic staff from the department of English (who in a lot of instances were the authors of text books I use on a daily basis). The next year looks to be as exciting as I have applied to undertake a Masters Degree to build upon my research in the English language and globalisation.
This summer, I spent two weeks in each of Mali, Ethiopia, India, Laos, El Salvador and Nicaragua. The majority of the time was spent working directly with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), living within communities so as to be able to talk to a wide range of people about current local issues, and how these link together with other wider literacy and governance problems.
The report turned out to be quite lengthy, running to over 200 pages, but it set out to:
· Provide an overview of the states of literacy in each study country to help understand why literacy rate is less than 80% (and substantially less in some cases) and to explore what is being done about it.
· Provide an overview of the states of democracy in each study country to establish a historical basis for the current political environment and to suggest why none of the countries are classified as full, working democracies.
· Investigate some local issues of particular concern in study communities, whether relevant to literacy and democracy or not, but whenever relevant, relate them back to these two key areas.
· Link literacy, local and democracy issues (as evolved above) in a clearly visible framework so as to see clear linkages between the three elements.
· Use all of this information to produce policy recommendations on national, regional and global scales.
In brief summary, literacy has been found to have two strong links to democracy:
· Literacy increases the ability of a person to engage and participate
o Literacy à access to information to improve production technique freeing up more time for political engagement
o Literacy à access to information that allows people to keep themselves healthier, meaning they are in a better place to participate
o Literacy à access to a wider range of information so people can make themselves aware of local issues
o Critical literacy skills à allow people to analyse sources of information so that they can make informed decisions
o Literacy à people are in a better place to be able to understand the ballot system
· Literacy increases a sense of empowerment
o Literacy à farmers and other workers can gain information to obtain a better level of productivity which stands them in a stronger position for participation
o Literacy à reduced power differentials between members of a society (i.e. between doctor and patient or politician and voter)
o Literacy à people have a sense of ‘knowledge’ empowering people with a stronger feeling that their opinion is valid and should be listened to
o Literacy à people are more open to opportunity so as to take advantage of everything that a society offers
o Involving women in literacy programmes leads to an altered status of women as women are empowered at the same time that perceptions are forced to change
More updates to Come in 2012 .....