The Official GNHD 2014 Opening Ceremony in Shanghai

Article written by Jan Maas of Global Health & Education Foundation

On March 4, 2014 students, journalists, museum specialists, educational partners and everyone else who loves to experience the beauty of the natural world, gathered at the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum (SSTM) to attend the official opening of Global Natural History Day 2014 (GNHD). With help of inspiring words in Chinese and English, as well as beautiful wildlife pictures taken on the Kenneth E. Behring Discovery Trip to South-Africa, the public left behind the hectic streets of Shanghai and dreamed away to the green world of South-Africa.

Four winners of last year’s Global Finals, who just have returned from South-Africa, took the stage and shared their discovery experiences with everyone. Their message was clear: GNHD had given them the unique opportunity to study in- and outside the classroom. By participating in GNHD they could design a real research project. As this year’s program has a new theme – ‘Adaptability, Resiliency, Sustainability’ – and involves new student teams from different parts of the world, they already have started brainstorming on new research questions and presentation materials. Although this year’s program will be larger and more international than before, they are determined to win first prize again.

After the words of the students, Founder and President of the Global Health & Education Foundation Mr. Kenneth E. Behring was warmly welcomed by Mrs. Zuo Huanchen, the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum Director. Mr. Behring presented her a special gift and a signed copy of the Chinese translation of his autobiography The Road to Leadership. Under laud applause and with a great smile on their faces, Mr. Behring and Mrs. Zuo cheerfully shook hands and officially declared open Global Natural History Day 2014.

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National Friendship Award Bestowed Upon Kenneth E. Behring

China Bestows National Friendship Award on Kenneth E. Behring, Founder Global Health and Education Foundation


BEIJING – China’s State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs has awarded American entrepreneur and philanthropist Kenneth E. Behring, founder of the Global Health and Education Foundation, a NationalFriendship Award for 2013.

“I have been coming to China in friendship for more than 30 years,” said Mr. Behring, of Danville, CA. “I have worked to be a friend to China through our many programs, including distributing wheelchairs to physically disabled people in China and by helping to improve education in natural sciences there. I consider myself a ‘goodwill ambassador’ for the American people to China, one of our most important allies today in global affairs. I am honored and humbled by this award.”

Mr. Behring was one of 50 people from 20 countries to receive the 2013 award, China’s highest honor for foreign experts. It includes a plaque and medal engraved with a picture of the Great Wall of China and with the inscription “Friendship Award” in Chinese and English. The award is given to experts who have made an outstanding contribution to China’s economic and social progress.In all, more than 1,200 experts from 67 countries and regions have received the award since 1991.

Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai presented Mr. Behring with the award on Sept. 29 in a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The following day, award recipients met with Chinese party and state leaders at the Great Hall and listened to a speech by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The awardees then attended a state banquet celebrating the National Day of the People’s Republic of China.

“The foreign experts in China are close friends of the Chinese people. They are a bridge for communication between China and other countries and an important force for China’s development,” Mr. Ma said, according to China Daily.”The Chinese people will always remember their contribution to China’s development and progress.”

Mr. Behring was honored for three initiatives in China in his Global Health and Education Foundation:

–the Wheelchair Foundation, which has distributed more than 340,000 wheelchairs to physically disabled people in China who need a wheelchair but cannot afford one. The Foundation has given away more wheelchairs in China than any other country. Its donors and partners include such corporations as Johnson & Johnson and Qualcomm, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the China Disabled Persons’ Federation.

–the International Museums Partnership, which has joined with more than a dozen natural history museums in China to create world-class animal exhibits and interactive education initiatives. Mr. Behring is an honorary citizen of Shanghai, Suzhou, Dalian, Yangzhou, Tianjin, Shenzhen, Shandong Province and Chongqing for supporting, establishing, and contributing to natural history and science museums throughout China.

–Global National History Day(GNHD), which builds on Mr. Behring’s partnerships with natural history museums with an international academiccompetition for elementary through high school students. It is a yearlongeducational program that teaches natural history and science outside the classroom and connects students to their peers around the world. The program requires young people to conduct in-depth primaryresearch on a natural science subject and present their findings in exhibits and performances. It is designed to help develop the skills required for the world’s future leaders. Each summer in a different host city, the program culminates at the Global Finals, with participants competing for various prizes by presenting their projects to a panel of distinguished judges and professionals in their field. (

Kenneth Behring’s American dream had humble beginnings. Born in 1928 to a poor but hardworking family, Behring eventually owned his own car dealerships in his hometown of Monroe, Wisconsin. He was a millionaire by the age of 27. Mr. Behring used his assets to become a real estate developer in the 1960s. Over the course of the next 35 years, his companies created numerous planned communities in Florida and California, including the world-renowned Blackhawk development near San Francisco. He also was majority owner of the Seattle Seahawks football team. He was named three times to Forbes magazine’s list of 400 wealthiest Americans. After his success in business, he turned to philanthropy. He started a program to turn teachers into leaders in education, launched the Wheelchair Foundation and then the Global Health and Education Foundation. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his achievements in business and charitable programs. Married for more than 60 years to his wife, Pat, he has five children and ten grandchildren.

For more information, please and read Mr. Behring’s autobiography, The Road To Leadership.


Joel Hodge, Global Health and Education Foundation

Phone: 925-648-3860 (work)


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The 2nd Annual Global Natural History Day (GNHD)

The 2nd Annual Global Natural History Day (GNHD) competition will officially start in April 2013. This year’s theme is ‘Great Migrations: Animal, Botanical, Anthropological.’ GNHD is free to enter and open to any student between grades 2 to 10. If you know any eligible student or teacher, please encourage them to participate by registering on our website. GNHD is a highly academic and dynamic program that takes students and teachers out of the classroom and into the world by looking for primary sources (biologists, anthropologists, researchers) to assist in the research of a chosen topic.

This year GNHD will expand across China and in the United States of America. In addition to new cash prizes for this year’s contest, winners of their respective divisions will be eligible for the ‘Kenneth E. Behring Discovery Trip’ in February 2014, which will take winning students and teachers on an all-exclusive 10-day private safari tour of South Africa, operated by Educational Trailblazers. Explore more at:


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The 1st KEB Discovery Trip

On February 15, 2013, the Global Health and Education Foundation completed it’s first annual year-long educational program, the ‘Global Natural History Day’ with rousing success following a successful ‘Kenneth E. Behring Discovery Trip’ that took the winners across the United States of America, from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Out of more than 1,000 entrants, 45 students and teachers winning their respective Global Natural History Day contests in Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai (local and international) went on the educational trip of a lifetime, organized by Educational Trailblazers and generously sponsored by Mr. Kenneth E. Behring. 

During the winners’ action packed 10-day tour of the USA, students and educators were given exclusive VIP-access and treatment to some of the most internationally recognized educational and public institutions in the USA, including: the National Museum of American History; National Museum of American History; Capitol Hill; Disneyland; Universal Studios; Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; Blackhawk Museum; and the University of Maryland, home of the National History Day headquarters.

The culmination of this 10-day adventure was a private award reception hosted by Mr. Kenneth E. Behring at his mansion in Blackhawk, California. During the award ceremony, Mr. Behring personally awarded each Global Natural History Day winner with a medal, certificate, and gift for their successful participation in Global Natural History Day 2012.The final awards ceremony was the perfect ending to a hugely successful Global Natural History Day program debut. Congratulations to all who participated in last year’s contest.

We look forward to seeing you in South Africa next year!

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Global Natural History Day Officially Launched at BMNH

In order to grow interest in natural sciences among primary and middle school pupils, the Global Health and Education Foundation and Beijing Academy of Science and Technology sponsored the Global Natural History Day, a natural science competition event that has won the support of Beijing Municipal Commission of Science and Technology, Beijing Municipal Commission of Education, and Beijing Association for Science and Technology. On the afternoon of March 4, 2012, the launch ceremony was held at BMNH, and BMNH was charged to carry out the competition together with Beijing Extra-curricular Education Association. Mr. Kenneth Behring, founder and chairman of the Global Health and Education Foundation attended the ceremony.

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GHEF donates to Tianjin Natural History Museum

The Tianjin Daily, November 8, 2011 – famous American philanthropist, Chairman of the World Wheelchair Foundation, Global Health and Education Foundation Chairman Mr. Kenneth Behring again to Tianjin “the world, signed with the Tianjin Natural History Museum animal specimens donation agreement, and again to the Tianjin Natural History Museum donated more than 200 pieces, valued at more than 50 million U.S. dollars of the world’s wild animal specimens. The vice mayor Junfang met Kenneth Behring and his entourage, and attended the signing ceremony.




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Kenneth Behring’s 2nd Visit to BMNH This Year

On November 9, Mr. Behring paid his second visit to BMNH in this year, further consolidating his relationship with our institute. BMNH leaders think highly of Mr. Behring’s contribution and discussed with him about future cooperation.

On his last trip to Beijing, Mr. Behring has visited the Exhibition on the Beauty of Animals in BMNH and noticed that the exhibits need maintenance. Director Meng, together with other leaders in BMNH, made a plan to refurbish the exhibition. Regarding the new exhibition, Director Meng sought council from Mr. Bhering about what features should be preserved, what should be upgraded, and what new elements should be added.

During this visit, Mr. Behring presented his gifts of Maasai artifacts to our museum. Those precious gifts will be incorporated in future exhibitions on the natural beauty in Africa to showcase the relationship between human beings and the nature. Mr. Behring also offered to donate in the near future another batch of about 50 wild animal specimens.

Both parties agree to work closely on a whole lot of new projects in future.


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Kenneth Behring visits Beijing Museum of Natural History

On July 19, 2011, Mr. Behring together with several of his senior executives paid a visit to BMNH to check the exhibitions and the construction of BMNH’s new wing and held talks on future cooperation with BMNH leaders.

Accompanied by Director Meng Qingjin and Deputy Director Li Jianwen, Mr. Behring visited the Beauty of Animals, a permanent BMNH exhibition whose exhibits are mainly donated trophies from Mr. Behring. The gallery was very crowded and people liked the exhibition very much. Mr. Behring was impressed by the popularity of the exhibition and smiled radiantly when several children extended their friendly hands to him.

Mr. Meng said that Mr. Behring’s generous donation of trophy animals to Chinese museums since 2003 starting with Dalian Museum of Natural History was deeply appreciated and his support for BMNH greatly propelled the development of BMNH science communication programs. Mr. Meng also shared information about the construction of BMNH’s new wing and sought Mr. Behring’s opinion on the different conceptual designs.

Mr. Behring was very keen on the construction process and the display scale and design of the animal exhibits in the new venue. He suggested that the design fully incorporate the newly developed sound, light and electrical techniques to reconstruct the wild habitats of animals so that the viewers could better grasp the relationship between humans and nature. Mr. Behring said he was very glad to continue the operation with BMNH and would like to endow BMNH with more trophy specimens and provide support for the construction of BMNH’s new wing.

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