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In the evening of 1 July 2009, participants, attending the IUCN/Maurice Strong environmental dialogue, were invited to a celebratory dinner honouring Maurice Strong’s 80th birthday.
The dinner was hosted by Margot Bennett-Mathieson, a friend and supporter of IUCN. The occasion, which happened to be on Canada Day, recognized the immense contributions made by Maurice Strong to establishing the international environmental movement.
Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN, in her pre-dinner remarks, said that Maurice Strong was the ‘true father of the modern environmental movement’ and was behind the seminal events on the environment of the last 40 years. She added: "When we look at how much has changed since then, it is frightening as far as the state of our planet is concerned, but it is truly encouraging when one looks at the prominence of the issue in the public consciousness, in political thinking, increasingly in business practices and in worldwide strategic thinking."
A number of persons paid tribute to Maurice Strong during the evening, which he later described as ‘one of the most moving moments of his life’.
At the end of the dinner, Ashok Khosla, President of IUCN, presented the Guest of Honour with a book, containing numerous written tributes from those who could not attend the meeting and celebrations.