Light is taken for granted in the developing world, and it is easy to forget that, according to the World Bank, 1.6 billion people live without electricity. Students in the MFA lighting design program at the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons the New School for Design in New York have spent the past two years exploring the issues that surround bringing light to the rest of the world, all under the guidance of Craig A. Bernecker, associate professor of lighting design in a seminar class titled "Lighting Technology in the Developing World." Their efforts are ongoing, and on June 10, the school will hold a public symposium titled "Lighting the Developing World."

The daylong program (starting at 8:30 a.m., and followed by a reception from 6 to 8 p.m.) will be held at the New School's Tishman Auditorium (2 West 13th Street). It will look to address different aspects of lighting in the developing world, from off-grid solutions to solar options, and to quality of light issues. "It's about raising awareness of the need for light in the developing world and creating a dialogue," Bernecker explains.

Bernecker has tapped professionals from across the lighting industry, as well as from the New School's diverse faculty, to provide as broad a range of discussion as possible. Invited speakers to date include: Michael Cohen, director and professor of international affairs at Milano, the New School for Management and Urban Policy; Dave Irvine Halliday, founder of the Light Up the World Foundation; Toby Cumberbatch, Cooper Union and Solar Lantern; and Chad Groshart, Atelier Ten.

The symposium is also intended to serve as a fundraiser for a group of 10 Parsons' lighting students who are planning a social mission trip this July to the Apurimac Region of Peru. There, they will deliver and install solar-powered lighting systems to villages in the Andes mountains. This continues the students' work in studying and evaluating different lighting systems and strategies that can be incorporated into remote locations and communities with little or no economic resources. For complete details contact Craig Bernecker at