Longtime Earth Charter supporter sets up scholarship fund

Interview with Mitra Doherty (MD) by Douglas F. Williamson (DW).

DW: I’m here today with Mitra Doherty from Canada, a long-time supporter of the Earth Charter Initiative and Earth Charter International.

First of all Mitra, Earth Charter International would like to thank you for your continued support of our efforts to make the world more just, peaceful, and sustainable. On this occasion, I’m interviewing you as you have agreed to set up an annual scholarship to support participants to attend education programmes at the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development in Costa Rica. This is a very generous gift and will have positive echoes the impact of which will be unfathomable. We are deeply grateful to you.

MD: You’re very welcome. I’m glad to be able to help.

DW: I’d like to know, how did you first learn about the Earth Charter?

MD: It was at the University for Peace. I was there for a visit. I’d heard about the University and have always been involved in peace activities. We had a peace organization at the university here in Waterloo. I was walking around and saw a poster of the Earth Charter and I took a picture of it. And at that moment, Mirian Vilela, the Director of EC, tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I wanted to learn more. So I said sure and I went to her office and she gave me the information and I learned that there were many aspects of the EC that appealed to me.

DW: What does the Earth Charter mean to you?

MD: Interconnectedness, sustainability and justice for the Earth are all important to me. I’ve always felt that we’re connected to the Earth and that we need to take care of it. The Charter is a very well thought out expression of this. I always felt that it was organic and alive and that it had evolved to what it is in a natural way.

DW: How does it impact your life, your work? How are you involved with the charter?

MD: I decided that the line of action that I wanted to help with was related to education and also increasing endorsements. So, I use it with many groups and individuals. I think increasing awareness is the most important, and education is vital for doing that.

DW: Why did you decide to set up this scholarship program?

MD: I always feel that if I can do something good and help someone do something that I would like to do but can’t and the only thing holding them back is money, I would like to make sure they can benefit. There are individuals who would like to do your courses and can’t afford it, especially from developing countries, so it’s really just about enabling someone else to be able to benefit from your education and return home to pass on knowledge and inspiration.

DW: What is moving you these days? Where do you think emphasis should be placed?

MD: Environmental rights are really interesting to me. And I think we need to get the Earth Charter values to kids at a young age.

DW: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today and for your generous scholarship programme in support of the Earth Charter Initiative.

The Annual Mitra Doherty Scholarship will award a participant or participants with financial assistance to attend Earth Charter Center programmes on education.