On Monday night the Vail Mountain School auditorium was full of people who care about making positive changes - especially for the oppressed - all over the world. The occasion was the first annual Global Solutions Forum during which several non-profit organizations gave presentations on how they are working to solve compelling global issues. Keynote speaker Mikaela Beardsley took to the stage to present a clip of her 4-hour PBS documentary "Half the Sky" and speak about her journey from film-making to activism.
Beardsley has more than 15 years of experience producing award-winning and socially engaging documentary television. Her friend, Jane West, introduced her and commented on her extensive accomplishments stating, "It has been a a five year journey (in making 'Half the Sky') so far and along the way she has raised millions of dollars, all the while, filming all over the globe."
The host organization of the inaugural Global Solutions Forum, Students Shoulder to Shoulder, partners with non-profits in six countries on four continents. Vail Mountain School works closely with the organization. Jan Idzikowski and Doreen Somers sent their daughter, Sydney, to Nepal in the summer of 2010.
"It was a fascinating program with cultural immersion and community service," Idzikowski said. "They built an aqueduct from the mountains to a Buddhist monastery and they worked at an orphanage in Kathmandu. It was eye-opening for the students to see these people who have so little, and yet have this incredible spirit and outlook on life."
"It is like (Mikaela Beardsley) has been on a five year Shoulder to Shoulder experience," West said.
Both Students Shoulder to Shoulder and the film "Half the Sky" strive to actively address root causes of poverty including the oppression of women. Beardsley's film is available on Netflix and is also available to purchase.
Beardsley summed up the Forum this way: "You can call them activists or you can call them visionaries, but these are people who see something wrong in their world ... and they are going to do something about it."
Be sure to look for the second annual Global Solutions Forum next year for more coverage of important world issues and groups working to make a positive change.