Thursday, June 03, 2010
Having authored or co-authored over 50 books and having been published in over 40 languages, Lester Brown often has a long history of being published in a number of countries. Italy and Romania are among this prestigious list, and in mid May Lester traveled to both countries to launch Plan B 4.0.
In Italy, the cornerstone contact has been Gianfranco Bologna, Cultural and Scientific Director of WWF Italy and Secretary General of the Fondazione Aurelio Peccei, the Italian section of the Club of Rome. The relationship between Lester and Gianfranco goes back over 30 years. Shortly after they met, Gianfranco began his role in finding publishers for Lester’s books, particularly the State of the World reports, of which he is the curator of the Italian edition. An author in his own right of several books on nature and sustainable development, he also heads the various translation teams, ensuring a high quality translation. When Lester has been in Italy to launch the editions, Gianfranco has coordinated with the publishing house to set up excellent presentations and media coverage. Because of his standing in Italy, Gianfranco and Lester often speak at the same major conferences.
For Plan B 3.0, Gianfranco was joined in the translation effort by a volunteer team headed by Dario Tamburrano of the Amici de Beppe Grillo di Roma. Beppe Grillo is an Italian activist, blogger, comedian, actor and politician, who also works in theatres and television. Beppe himself has been a fan of Lester for some years and has a huge fan base. His blog is one of the top ten blogs worldwide. An excerpt from Plan B 2.0 on his blog generated an unprecedented amount of traffic to our website. Due to their combined outreach efforts, Plan B 3.0 became a hit in Italy, going through several printings and often being featured by Beppe in his television program. It was also put online for free downloading.
Beppe has posted interviews of Lester on his blog. You can read and hear the most recent interview, done when Lester was in Milan, here. He previously had interviewed Lester for a documentary he produced entitled Terra Reloaded, which includes the opinions of renowned global experts regarding the future of this planet.
Plan B 4.0 was translated by this same team with Gianfranco at the helm. Meanwhile, Marco Moro, the editor at Edizioni Ambiente, set up a masterful outreach program. The first event was at the Museum of Natural Science in Trento, a gorgeous city in the mountains, the next in Torino at the headquarters of the Cultural Foundation Compagnia di San Paolo, and last in Turin at the International Book Fair, which was the official launch event for the Italian edition of Plan B 4.0. In between major events were media interviews. To see some of the Italian press coverage, click here.
From Italy, Lester flew to Bucharest. In 1987, he received a letter from the head of Editura Tehnica asking for the rights to publish State of the World 1987. The head of Editura Tehnica had a long-standing interest in global environmental issues, and he wrote a 23-page introduction to this first Romanian edition, relating the global issues to what Romania was experiencing. Thus began a relationship between author and publisher that continues until this day.
The publisher was Ion Iliescu, who became the interim leader and then President of Romania after the death of Nicolae Ceausescu. During Iliescu’s terms of office, Romanian politics were stabilized and the country became part of NATO. He also continued to oversee the publication of books by Lester.
President Iliescu’s interest in the environment extended into writing his own books on the subject and generating appropriate government responses. One initiative was a two-day conference that he organized in 1994 for cabinet members, academics, and others from the countries of Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region. The conference was entitled “Workshop Worldwatch: Sustainable Development and International Cooperation.” President Iliescu himself chaired the meeting and invited Lester to give the keynote presentation. At the workshop, President Iliescu and Lester did a joint book signing of their various books.
Editura Tehnica has published all of Lester’s books since he started Earth Policy Institute in 2001. This is all made possible by Roman Chirila, the editor, who ensures a near-simultaneous release with the English editions.
When Lester was in Bucharest this May, his visit was personally overseen by President Iliescu. Iliescu, with his own blog, even promoted Lester’s travel to the region in an entry. Lester had the opportunity to talk with the former president himself on a major television program. The program with Iliescu sparked considerable media coverage within the region, notably on the tax issues discussed.
During the visit, Lester was honored by being inducted into the Romanian Academy of Science as an honorary member and granted a Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine at a ceremony attended by a number of prestigious leaders, including two past presidents of Romania. A special highlight was a visit to the Parliamentary Palace, also called the People's House. Initially designed by Ceausescu, President Iliescu oversaw its completion once he was in office.
Thus ended the European leg of Lester’s five-week trip. ... Next time Denver and Asia.
Reah Janise Kauffman
P.S. Stay up to date with Lester's presentations on our Events page. To read or listen to some of the major media coverage, go to EPI in the News.
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