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The lost world of Ladakh: reclaiming the past, sustaining the future

The Geological Society recently co-organised an international conference in Leh, the capital of the historic Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh. Sustainable Resource Development in the Himalayas brought together scientists from the Himalayan nations and around the world, to discuss with policy-makers and community representatives how to develop sustainably the rich and varied resources of the Himalaya, to benefit the local communities and nations to which they belong.

This conference was preceded and followed by an education programme, with interactive classes focusing on topics such as energy efficiency, climate change and natural hazards. Students were encouraged to take personal responsibility for what they can do to help address these challenges, and to act as ambassadors in their communities. Students demonstrated both a willingness and personal commitment to such tasks, eager to take seriously sustainable development in the region.

History offers us a valuable tool to understand and plan for development.  The Lost World of Ladakh: Early Photographic Journeys in Indian Himalaya (1931-1934) is a recently published book, profiling the photographs of Rupert Wilmot, a British solider serving in India. These photographs give us a unique opportunity to visualise this region in the 1930s. The ability to contrast such images with images taken 80 years later provides an insight into both environmental and cultural change.

This evening event included presentations by the authors of The Lost World of Ladakh and organisers of the Sustainable Resource Development in the Himalayas conference. A discussion session will draw upon wider expertise of this fascinating region, as we consider how an understanding of the past can help to build a sustainable future. A photo exhibition and wine reception will then give participants the opportunity to talk informally about this region and the work being undertaken.

The Programme Included:

  • Welcome Address - Nic Bilham, Geological Society
  • The Lost World of Ladakh - Nicky Harman and/or Roger Bates 
  • Sustainable Resource Development in the Himalaya – conference overview
    - Pete Sammonds, UCL 
  • Sustainable Resource Development in the Himalaya – student programme overview
    Joel Gill, Geology for Global Development
  • Panel Discussion
    - Nicky Harman or Roger Bates
    - Pete Sammonds
    - Virginie Le Masson - Overseas Development Institute
    - Mohammad Shamsudduha - UCL

Talks were recorded and will be available to watch online shortly.

    All profits raised from this event went to support the Sustainable Resource Development in the Himalayas conference and associated work.

    Event Details

    The Lost World of Ladakh

    Date: 24 October 2014
    Venue: The Geological Society, Burlington House, London


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    • Georgina Worrall

      The Geological Society
      Burlington House
      Piccadilly, London
      United Kingdom
      W1J 0BG

      Tel: 020 7434 9944