Edinburgh Ocean Leaders launched in 2020. It is the only executive leadership programme designed specifically for early mid-career professionals working on the oceans. The programme combines leadership, mentoring and networking support with international field-based experiences.

The ethos of the Edinburgh Ocean Leaders programme is to support leadership in situ and globally distributed. 

Through supporting creativity, leadership, problem solving and networking, the ambition of the Edinburgh Ocean Leaders programme is to accelerate and amplify the visions and capacities of these talented people and their organisations, providing an enduring positive impact on the oceans for decades to come.

Through a global nomination process, each year up to 10 ocean professionals are selected by the International Advisory Panel. The Ocean Leaders are selected from diverse backgrounds and professional experiences – spanning industry, conservation, policy, advocacy, education, media and outreach. The programme is free for the Ocean Leaders. This ensures they are selected in the basis of their capacity and potential leadership rather than their ability to pay.

Each Ocean Leader is at a pivotal juncture in their career, having already shown exceptional promise and capacity to become a change-maker. Whilst maintaining their existing professional roles, they come together for mentoring, leadership training, professional skills development and face-to-face learning exchanges in field-based settings to solve complex challenges. They become part of a globally-distributed, and growing lifelong network of highly effective Ocean Leaders, many of whom will become mentors to future cohorts.

Core elements of the Ocean Leaders programme includes the following:

  • an initial Induction event in Edinburgh for the new cohort, linked to an Annual Ocean Leaders Meeting of current and past cohorts;
  • bespoke leadership training and support, and mentoring;
  • an intensive international Field Mission with experienced leaders to explore issues and strategies for problem solving in diverse and complex international contexts;
  • participation in at least one major UN-level or similar ocean conference, helping translate recommendations into tangible pathways to actions and outcomes;
  • participation in Edinburgh Ocean Conversations, disussion events with high-level speakers talking on leadership through ocean challenges; and
  • building a life-long network of global ocean leaders and change-makers.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, due to restrictions in international travel, the core elements of the programme took place online. From 2022, we are pleased to be able to undertake the in person elements of the programme as planned.

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