Kensington-Rockville Branch Meeting

The Antarctic Treaty: The Second Political Miracle

 Saturday, November 16, 2019

11 am-12:30 pm

Ingleside at King Farm

Derwood- Ellicott Room

701 King Farm Blvd. Rockville, Maryland (Parking and entrance in rear)

You are invited to purchase lunch, network and chat afterward at Ingleside

 More than sixty years ago, the world got lucky. In the scariest depths of the Cold War, a handful of science leaders who enjoyed extraordinary respect and influence created the International Geophysical Year (IGY), 1957-1958. Global scientists confidently planned an 18-month cooperative world-wide effort to understand the earth and its environment, then brashly got their respective governments to pay for it. Twelve of the 66 participating countries sent scientists to the polar continent, one of the great unknowns of the time. That the IGY could, and did, successfully take place with the world teetering on the edge of a nuclear abyss was indeed a political miracle.

The unprecedented Antarctic Treaty of 1959 brought the second political miracle — the IGY in Antarctica never ended. How did this largely unknown treaty come about? What did it mean then? What does it mean now? What about its future?  Our own member, Dian Belanger will lead us in a fascinating story with critically important implications.

Our Speaker:

Dian Olson Belanger, an independent historian, is the author of Deep Freeze: The United States, the International Geophysical Year, and the Origins of Antarctica’s Age of Science (University Press of Colorado, 2006). Her first book, Managing American Wildlife, won The Wildlife Society’s national book award as “the outstanding publication in wildlife ecology and management.” Her second, Enabling American Innovation: Engineering and the National Science Foundation, opened the door to Deep Freeze and Dian’s passion for Antarctica.

Dian served as associate curator and technical editor for engineering exhibits at the National Building Museum in Washington and curatorial associate and docent at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Her volunteer commitments have included a decade of national leadership for the American Association of University Women. She formerly taught history and is currently a docent at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and an AAUW lobbyist and archivist.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree, summa cum laude, in history from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and a Master of Arts in American Studies from the George Washington University, with additional graduate work at the University of Southern California and California State University at Los Angeles.