Monday, March 22, 2010
Chester Thomas (class of ’66)
2010 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
Executive Director of Proyecto Aldea Global (Project Global Village)
Join us for a special GLOCAL Society Series presentation by Pitt-Johnstown’s 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient Chester Thomas. Mr. Thomas will discuss the work of his organization, Proyecto Aldea Global (Project Global Village), and highlight the countless contributions that it has made to the advancement of Honduras and its citizens. He will also share the enormous challenges facing Honduras as a developing country, and will provide first-hand accounts of what has been happening since the constitutional crisis that took place nine months ago.
Proyecto Aldea Global (PAG) was started in 1982 to help the rural poor in Honduras, and has developed into a 595-person organization under Mr. Thomas’ leadership. Through its mission to “empower families, reduce poverty, and build just, peaceful and productive communities based on Christian values,” PAG has made a significant impact on Honduras. PAG has been responsible for the construction of 74 schools, 18 maternal child care clinics, and 115 community health centers that provide health care for more than 500 communities. Through a physical infrastructure program, more than 1,000 miles of roads have been constructed to help small farmers market their produce, and a ferry boat system was built to transport vehicles across the El Cajon dam.
Mr. Thomas attended Pitt-Johnstown during the “Asphalt Campus” days, when the school was located in the Moxham section of Johnstown, and finished his degree in education at the University’s Pittsburgh campus. Mr. Thomas also completed coursework for his Master of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
Upon earning his bachelor’s degree, Mr. Thomas joined the Peace Corps, where he served in Colombia until 1969. In 1974, following Hurricane Fifi, he relocated to Honduras where he worked on the reconstruction of the destroyed areas and started a relief and development organization called CEDEN, which was an association of Christian churches in Honduras. Personally, he also founded an orphanage for the children of parents lost in the hurricane. The orphanage continues to operate today. In 1976, disaster struck again, and he answered a call from the National Council of Churches - USA to direct a massive reconstruction of 22,000 housing units following an earthquake in Guatemala. In early 1979, he returned to Honduras, where he currently resides.
Please click here to view the full announcement of Mr. Thomas' selection as the recipient of Pitt-Johnstown's 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award.
The GLOCAL Society Series focuses on pressing global and local (GLOCAL) issues of our time. In a world where global and local are increasingly and sometimes vexingly intertwined, the GLOCAL Society Series brings focus on how the pressing global issues of our time are affecting our communities, as well as how the latter can leverage the positive aspects and mitigate the negative features of the processes of globalization.
Speakers, panelists, and discussants explore key issues in our interdependent, globalizing world and their impact on our localities. The series addresses topics including, but not limited to:
- global economic conditions and international development,
- global health,
- international conflict, violence, terrorism and intercultural strife,
- sustainability, global resources, energy and environmental governance,
- population, migration and international refugees,
- world religions,
- human rights and the protection of vulnerable persons,
- international trade,
- technology and globalization, and
- other international political and economic issues.