Sat, May 19, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Ornithologist shows research can contribute to peace

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

A renowned ornithologist from Tel Aviv University in Israel yesterday talked about his experiences in bird migration research and the contribution the field can make to peace.

Displaying a selection of pictures of people, ranging from politicians and military servicemen to nuns and children of various nationalities enjoying bird-watching, Yossi Leshem, a well-known ornithologist in Israel, said that through telescopes people not only see birds, but also understand that “we are protecting the same world.”

On a visit to Taiwan at the invitation of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to attend his second term inauguration tomorrow, Leshem delivered a speech at this year’s Taiwan Israel International Conference on Migrating Birds, cohosted by the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which attracted bird watchers and nature lovers from around the nation.

Under the theme “Birds as Peacemakers in the Middle East,” Leshem spoke of the variety of birds in the region, through which 500 million birds migrate twice a year, and how he changed people’s impression of birds, which are considered bad luck in Islam.

He also described his development of a bird-migration map and a bird-zone map, and the application of scientific research to bird-strike prevention in aviation.

Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Yang (楊念祖), who was also at the conference, said Leshem’s achievements are a good demonstration of “smart power” because they seek to bridge people’s differences and deepen mutual understanding through peaceful means.

“It is important not only for scientific research, but also for bringing about better coexistence between human society and nature, as well as for enhancing mutual understanding among nations and reducing misunderstandings,” Yang said.

Earlier yesterday, Leshem paid a visit to Air Force General Headquarters, where he shared his experience on preventing bird hits on military aircraft.

Ma then received Leshem at the Presidential Office and commended him on his academic research and for bringing the chance of peace to the Middle East.

“It was a remarkable achievement that Professor Leshem was able to get together the air force commanders of five countries around Israel to discuss how to prevent bird hits on their military aircraft, after which the the countries turned from foes into friends,” Ma said.

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