yaleNew York, Sep 20 2010 – Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, Vice President of the Republic of Maldives was the keynote speaker at a reception hosted by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Dr. Waheed addressed students and leading scholars on the impact of climate change on small island nations. With 80 percent of its islands less than 1 meter high, rapid sea-level rise caused by global warming threatens the very existence of the Maldives.

The Vice President’s speech was accompanied by Vulnerable, a photography exhibition documenting the plight of the fragile coral islands of the Maldives.

The event marked a strengthening of the relationship between Yale University and the Republic of Maldives through which students have had the opportunity to work with the Maldives government, aiding in international environmental negotiations and climate change issues. Dr. Waheed’s visit to Yale is testament to this relationship as well as a commitment to maintain an open, action-oriented, and progressive dialog about climate change and the its detrimental impacts on nations and people around the world.

This event was sponsored by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Maldives, and Bluepeace, a Maldives NGO.

“Every beach lost to rising seas, every house lost to storm surges, every reef lost to increasingly warm waters, every job lost as fish stocks dwindle, and every life lost to more extreme weather...will make it harder and harder to govern the country, until the point is reached when we must consider abandoning our homeland.”

-- President Mohamed Nasheed, address at the 64th UN General Assembly