Meredith College presented the 2009 Woman of Achievement Award to Céline Cousteau, Ocean Futures Society international project coordinator.
President Maureen Hartford presented the award to Cousteau, granddaughter of the legendary Jacques Cousteau, prior to her Earth Day lecture on April 22.
“Through her extraordinary career and accomplishments, she is an ideal expert to represent [Meredith’s] theme for the year, “Sustaining Our Environment, Developing Our Greenprint,” said Hartford in her presentation of the third annual award.
The daughter of ocean explorer and filmmaker Jean-Michel Cousteau, Céline Cousteau is featured in the PBS series “Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures.” Cousteau has collaborated with her father's Ocean Futures Society promoting the educational program “Ambassadors of the Environment” throughout her travels.
As an educational ambassador and “oceanaut,” Cousteau seeks to educate through adventure and exploration. In her multi-media presentation at Meredith, Cousteau aimed to “take the audience on a few journeys”, including into the Amazon, where she has worked on a variety of projects, such as a collaboration with Amazon Promise to bring medical care to the region.
Calling herself an Amazon addict, Cousteau said “the people of the Amazon are what connected me to the region, along with the extraordinary experiences such as swimming with an anaconda.”
Using unique experiences to bring the story of the natural world back to audiences in the U.S. is one of Cousteau’s primary goals. She hopes to show that “all of it is connected to our lives, that what we do here affects what happens there.”
Cousteau encouraged the audience to find something they are passionate about and advocate for that, “whether it is a region, a topic or a people … you don’t have to be an environmentalist, a conservationist or a scientist. You just have to care.”
The Woman of Achievement lecture is held in conjunction with Meredith's annual Celebrating Student Achievement Day. The lecture was part of The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Presidential Lecture Series at Meredith College. The series stimulates and enhances the intellectual and academic climate at Meredith College and the broader community.