On the 21st March 2023, the 2022 Ocean Leaders (OLs) hosted an interactive discussion event at Monaco Ocean Week, aimed at promoting ocean leadership across sectors, geographies, and scales.
The event was opened by cofounder and codirector of Edinburgh Ocean Leaders, Dr Meriwether Wilson, who introduced the programme. Shirley Binder, a 2021 Ocean Leader, moderated the event, which featured two thematic panel discussions that showcased the diverse experiences and strategies of the 2022 OL cohort in their respective ocean sectors.
The first panel, titled “Influencing at Scale,” focused on global or regional ocean leadership. The panelists discussed their best tools for protecting the ocean in their current roles. Boris Solovyev highlighted the importance of building trust and long-term relationships with stakeholders, providing examples of ocean protection in the polar regions. Javiera Calisto drew from her experience in campaigning and discussed the significance of bringing solutions to the table rather than just problems or critiques. Lucy Holmes stressed the importance of forming unusual partnerships, particularly in the context of partnering with the finance sector – her area of expertise.
The second panel, “Leading to Empower Communities,” showcased Ocean Leaders with experience in grassroots leadership. Lucy Babey shared her insights of leading citizen science programs for marine mammal surveys and the importance of communication to encourage public involvement in sustainability issues.
Peter Manyara emphasised the role of informing communities about the issues that affect them, drawing from his leadership experience in East Africa. Stephen Kankam highlighted the power and importance of engaging women as leaders in ocean protection, he gave examples of the seafood value chain and small-scale fishing industry in West Africa where he is based.
The latter half of the event featured roundtable discussions with the diverse event audience, including students and staff from the International University of Monaco, environmental lawyers, NGO leaders, artists, and musicians. The discussions focused on the opportunities for ocean leadership, as well as the current obstacles and barriers faced by those in their respective fields.
Professor Sandy Tudhope, the cofounder and codirector of Edinburgh Ocean Leaders, closed the session with remarks on the importance of creating spaces for connection and discussion to promote ocean leadership. Sandy explained “to lead change, you need not only passion, skills, creativity, but also courage, the will to do something different, and maybe to fail. So it’s very important to create these supportive spaces and communities”.
Words by Amber Carter