Visionaries - Changing the World One Story at a Time
Presenting our 20th Season on Public Television
"Addressing Global Food Security One Farmer at a Time"
IFDC-International Fertilizer Development Center - Episode 2001The mission of IFDC is bold and simple: to address global food security challenges and to help eradicate extreme hunger and poverty. The organization carries out this mission by enhancing smallholder farmers’ ability to manage mineral and organic fertilizers responsibly, thus increasing their agricultural productivity. In the process, IFDC promotes economic development and self-sufficiency – key components in the fight against global hunger and poverty – and also environmental stewardship.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, IFDC has contributed to the development of institutional capacity building in 150 countries through more than 700 formal training programs. Its field demonstrations and training have assisted millions of farmers around the world. IFDC focuses on increasing productivity across the agricultural value chain in developing countries through the creation and transfer of effective and environmentally sound crop nutrient technology and agribusiness expertise. Most recently, IFDC pioneered the development of fertilizer deep placement (FDP) – a more efficient and environmentally responsible method of fertilization that enables farmers to increase their crop yields while using less fertilizer. This process of fertilization saves farmers money and also cuts down on runoff and greenhouse gases.
With the help of USAID, IFDC is on the verge of franchising FDP around the world, giving the technology away for free. What’s more, the organization hopes to strengthen the private sector with this new technology by helping to establish village-level businesses to manufacture FDP briquette-making machines as well as the briquettes themselves. Visionaries crew traveled to 3 countries documenting the progress.
“Save Them All"
Best Friends Animal Society - Episode 2002Nearly 30 years ago, Best Friends, an animal welfare society, helped pioneer the no-kill movement. At that time, more than 17 million homeless pets were dying each year in our nation's shelters. By implementing spay/neuter and trap/neuter/return (TNR) programs to reduce the number of animals entering shelters, and increasing the number of people who adopt pets, they've reduced that number to around four million deaths annually. That is tremendous progress toward creating a no-kill nation, but Best Friends is committed to reducing shelter pet deaths to zero.
Best Friends is helping pets in need around the country with various community programs:
Meanwhile, our national initiatives focus on animals most likely to enter America's shelter system — cats, castoffs from puppy mills, and pit-bull-terrier-type dogs. The statistics regarding cats, puppy mills, and pit bull terriers are telling:
The vast majority of dogs killed in shelters are pit-bull-terrier-type dogs. Our national initiatives address these issues by keeping community cats safe and out of shelters with TNR, battling commercial breeding operations, and fighting discrimination against pit bull terriers.
“Peace through Scholarly Exchange”
ARCE-American Research Center in Egypt – Episode 2003
ARCE's mission is to support research on all aspects of Egyptian history and culture, foster a broader knowledge about Egypt among the general public, and strengthen American-Egyptian cultural ties.
Amid the turmoil in Egypt, mainstream media is focused on scenes of discord and violence. The Visionaries documentary team led by Bill Mosher, Visionaries founder and executive producer, travelled to Sohag, Egypt to tell a very different kind of story. There an international group of scholars and conservators are putting the finishing touches on the “Red Monastery,” a Coptic church that is the most important historic monument in Egypt from the late antique period.
The stunning beauty of the painted interior is the backdrop for a deeper more meaningful story that demonstrates the power our collective cultural heritage has to build lasting relationships between nations while connecting us all with our distant, common past.
"No One Left Behind"
DRI-Disability Rights International, Pt.1 - Episode 2004
DRI-Disability Rights International, Pt.2 - Episode 2005
Disability Rights International is dedicated to promoting the human rights and full participation in society of people with disabilities worldwide. The Worldwide Campaign to End the Institutionalization of Children seeks to draw attention to, and end, the pervasive and abusive practice of institutionalizing children with disabilities.
Disability Rights International was established in 1993 by attorney Eric Rosenthal. Based in Washington DC, Disability Rights International documents human rights abuses, publishes reports on human rights enforcement, and promotes international oversight of the rights of people with mental disabilities.
Children are the most vulnerable members of any society. Founded by DRI President Laurie Ahern, the Worldwide Campaign to End Institutionalization of Children fights to protect children suffering today and seeks to stop the next generation of children with disabilities from ever being locked away and forgotten.
Drawing on the skills and experience of attorneys, mental health professionals, human rights advocates, people with mental disabilities and their family members, Disability Rights International trains and supports advocates seeking legal and service system reform and assists governments in developing laws and policies to promote community integration and human rights enforcement for people with mental disabilities. The organization is forging new alliances throughout the world to challenge the discrimination and abuse faced by people with mental disabilities, as well as working with locally based advocates to create new advocacy projects and to promote citizen participation and human rights for children and adults. Visionaries travelled to Republic of Georgia and Mexico City to document the work.
“Australia Teaches U.S. Lessons on Higher Education”
Sydney University - Episode 2006
Human beings build things in two distinctly different ways. We alter the environment and the material-world to construct a seemingly unending array of objects, structures and machines. But, we also build Institutions…cultural edifices, constructed out of shared beliefs and common goals.
Visionaries travelled to Australia this summer to tell the story of one of the country’s great, yet unheralded, institutions: The University of Sydney Union. The USU grew from a small group of ambitious students, who first gathered in 1874, to become one of the leading college unions in the world.
However, this film is also a cautionary tale. While college unions in the United States grow and prosper as an essential component of higher education, in Australia, college unions across the country have closed their doors and the Sidney Union stands as the last surviving, student governed, union in the country.
We captured two powerful stories. First, television viewers will discover the profound influence a single organization can have on a city and a nation by providing young people with human experiences that not only complement their university studies, but often form the building blocks of a meaningful life. Through interviews with student leaders, staff and prestigious alumni, a picture will emerge of how Australia’s only remaining student-run union continues to prosper.
The second piece of the story is about how human societies can and ought to build and support culture entities that contribute to the greater good. The story delves into the origins of the union as a student debating society and the critical decisions that were made by its founders to lay the foundation for survival as a democratic institution that had the ability to grow and prosper by adapting to the changing needs of each generation of students. But also this is the story of how Australian Society fails to appreciate the value of the union and as a result the future of the movement on other college campuses is in decline.
“Local Charities, Nation Impact”
Episode 2007a - Wartburg – “Creative Aging, a New Model of Elder Care”Wartburg’s mission is to provide superior care, delivered with dignity, compassion and respect. Wartburg in Westchester, NY, offers integrated, comprehensive senior care services to both residents and people in their own homes. From Hindependent, assisted living and award-winning nursing home care to rehabilitation, home care and adult day care services, their continuing care approach means they are there for the whole family.
At Wartburg, the vision of healing and hope is upheld through care that touches on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. . . and it has been for nearly 150 years. Through interviews with the artists who share their expertise and knowledge with Wartburg seniors a new theme emerges that becomes the moral of the story. Wartburg’s model helps the artist as much as the seniors by providing more than a supportive community in which to work. What we discover is that their art grows when they have an opportunity to share. And ultimately, the entire community becomes a better place to live for everyone. The moral of the story is that when you create a circle of creative giving everyone benefits.
Episode 2007b - Historical Society of Pennsylvania- “Bringing History Alive in the 21st Century”
Historical societies began to spread beyond the eastern seaboard in the mid to late 19th century, driven primarily by a desire to preserve the culture of a local city or town. The founders of these organizations, who were often educated men from the professional classes, sought to preserve important documents and manuscripts that offered insight into the communities’ roles in important events and relationships with famous people.
This is the story of how that early, culturally narrow, view has evolved into a broad and inclusive approach to local and national history. It is also the story of how a historical society can evolve into a critical cultural institution in the digital age.
With Dr. Talbott as our guide, what unfolds are three interwoven stories. The first is a person who has discovered a powerful link with her familial past. Next, a high school student uses the library for research on a class project. The third story is centered around the staff of the library and the tools they are developing to make the collection available in the digital age.
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