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Beauty and Diversity of Ecuador Comes to Tel Aviv with the Galapagos Islands Photo Exhibition

Some of the world’s most exotic and unique creatures came to Tel Aviv on Wednesday evening, September 11th, with the opening of a special photo exhibition: “Wildlife of the Galapagos Islands: The Treasures of Ecuador Photo Exhibition.” The evening was a joint project of the Embassy of Ecuador and the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History.

Diplomats and friends of the Embassy of Ecuador and the Steinhardt Museum joined in the formal opening of the exhibition. Large, brightly colored photographs detailed the marvelous flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands, and guests were served refreshments while they walked around and enjoyed the next best thing to a visit to Ecuador.

Professor Tamar Dayan welcomed the guests and expressed her excitement at the opening of such a vivid representation of one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet. She mentioned that it was, in fact, the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands that inspired Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and observations on natural selection. Professor Dayan emphasized that the exhibition was a testament not just to the beauty of nature in the Galapagos, and the talent of the photographer Jonathan Green, but especially to the work of the museum and embassy staff to make this special wildlife accessible to an Israeli audience. Professor Dayan, on behalf of museum director Alon Sapan, thanked the Ambassador of Ecuador, H.E. Maria Gabriella Troya, for her dedication to both sharing and preserving the beauty and biodiversity of the Galapagos.

Ambassador Troya stressed that Galapagos does not “belong” to anyone; rather the people and government of Ecuador are its “custodians”, tasked with caring for the islands and the vibrant life they contain. The ambassador noted that Mr. Green is not just a talented photographer, but also a naturalist working to raise awareness about the Galapagos Islands.

The ambassador explained that the photo exhibition is just part of the growing cooperation between Tel Aviv University and the embassy, which also includes a recent symposium for Ecuadorian and Israeli scientists. She called for more work to protect and preserve the richness of the Galapagos Islands UNESCO heritage site. In closing, the ambassador emphasized the need to include children, as the best ambassadors of nature.

 After enjoying the photo exhibition, as well as refreshments including Ecuadorian imported products, guests were invited into the museum for a short presentation by Professor Noa Shenkar about her recent visit and research in the Galapagos Islands. She talked about her own impressions, as a marine biologist, visiting the islands for the first time. Professor Shenkar also introduced the moral dilemma of whether to encourage visitors to the islands to appreciate their beauty and diversity, or whether to discourage visitors because of the need to protect the delicate habitat. In conclusion, she urged everyone to consider these issues, and scientists, in particular, to focus on this special area of the world. 

Diplomacy.co.il congratulates the Embassy of Ecuador and the Steinhardt Museum on this important initiative

 Written and photo by Steven Aiello
 Director, Debate for Peace