Céline Cousteau, a young luminary of nature documentary filmmaking and conservation advocacy, will serve as Unity College’s 2014 commencement speaker.
Commencement exercises will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, in Tozier Gymnasium on the campus of Unity College, 90 Quaker Hill Road, Unity, Maine.
Cousteau holds a personal affinity for Unity College’s environmental mission and focus on sustainability science, the leading-edge of 21st century transdisciplinary (collaborative) environmental problem solving. Unity College President Stephen Mulkey, an internationally regarded scientist, considers Cousteau to be a noteworthy role model. “Throughout her career Céline Cousteau has demonstrated a passion for conservation and preserving the environment,” noted Mulkey. “She has blazed a path for the next generation of wise environmental stewards to follow.”
There is a shared admiration between Unity College and Cousteau. “I applaud Unity College for becoming the first institution of higher learning to adopt sustainability science as its framework for teaching and learning,” Cousteau said. “Scientists and other professionals need to work collaboratively to address the significant environmental challenges of the 21st century, including the mitigation of global climate change. Not only is Unity College training students to become effective professionals who work across disciplines, but through its sustainability science framework it is modeling a new, more effective path for American higher education.”
There are other ties that Cousteau has to Unity College, commonly known as America’s Environmental College. “The values of this community and my own have many intersections including a strong focus on looking at the solutions, not just the problems,” Cousteau explained. “Just as I have sought to address what I perceive are the significant challenges related to the sustainability and health of the planet, so too, are members of the College community committed to pursuing lives in service to the natural world. Working for the long-term viability of the natural world is paramount if we are to have a healthy future on this planet.”
As daughter of ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau, and granddaughter of legendary filmmaker Jacques Cousteau, from an early age Céline Cousteau travelled to some of the most exotic places on the planet, exploring both above and beneath the sea.
She is founder and executive director of CauseCentric Productions, a non-profit organization creating cause-focused multi-media content. With a masters in International and Intercultural Management and fluent in three languages, Cousteau also creates independent documentaries including shorts such as Sirenia "The Mystique of the Manatees" and Scars of Freedom, an official selection in 2013 at the World and Scenic Film Festival, the San Francisco Green Film Festival, the Colorado Film Festival, the Newport Beach Film Festival, the Blue Ocean Film Festival, and the Princeton Environmental Film Festival. Her current major work is a multimedia project focused on indigenous tribes in the Brazilian Amazon; it will include an online interactive platform, a full-length documentary and an engagement campaign followed by a collaborative capacity building initiative.
Cousteau is a member of the Council on Oceans for the World Economic Forum. As Creative Director for a major ocean-themed event in Brazil based on her 2011 “Ocean Inspiration” event, she illustrates that ocean advocacy comes in all forms, from science to art, dance to filmmaking.
She has been the international spokeswoman for the La Prairie skincare company since 2007, representing their Advanced Marine Biology collection and guiding their marine conservation initiatives. In 2010, she joined forces with Contiki Holidays as their Sustainability Partner. She is also a Guest Designer for Swarovski, and sits on the boards of Plant a Fish as well as Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation.
Serving as Unity College’s commencement speaker is an opportunity that Cousteau enthusiastically embraces. “This is such an exciting time for students about to launch into a new phase of life, full of possibilities and teeming with ideas,” Cousteau said. “To be able to address this audience at Unity College is not just about what I can offer them with stories of my own path and experience, but is an opportunity for me to reconnect with this generation that has so much to offer. Sharing this moment is like receiving an infusion of energy. I can only hope we all come away with an increased belief and conviction that we can make a real difference in our collective future on this planet.”