WMU Hosts Ocean Ambassador Workshops at The Ocean Race Stopover Aarhus

In connection with the celebrations of the 2023 World Oceans Day, the World Maritime University’s (WMU) WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute (GOI) were invited by UN City to attend The Ocean Race Stopover in Aarhus, Denmark, on 1-2 June 2023 and to deliver two interactive workshops. Two “Ocean Ambassadors - Researcher for a day” workshops were delivered for students and a Trivia for the general public as a part of the capacity building and educational programme activities of The Ocean Race Stopover Aarhus. The activities were delivered in collaboration with the UN City School Services team based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and focused on United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education) and Goal 14  (Life Below Water). 

One workshop involved a class of college students from Kalø Højskole, and the other involved fifth grade students from Aarhus International School. Both events focused on interactive and creative activities as Ocean Ambassadors. The workshops engaged the students in terms of  raising awareness on the need to protect, and sustainably use our ocean. The students learnt about the various issues that negatively affect the world’s ocean and engaged in, together with discussions on seeking practical solutions and actions for a better planet. The work of WMU was also presented to show what efforts are being taken and showcasing the importance of the ocean regarding working towards quality education for all and sustainable practices for a better future. The discussions focused on the students’ roles & impact on sustainability issues along with solutions they can take part in to help reach the targets of Goals 4 and 14. Guidance for the workshop was provided by GOI ocean experts including PhD candidates from the  Closing the Circle and Empowering Women programmes. 

Student outputs from the workshop included group presentations of Research Posters based on data gathered from interviewing the GOI experts and learning more about the challenges, solutions, and practical actions as well as personal responsibilities. Research Poster topics included:

  • Climate Change, Ocean Governance and Sustainability; 
  • Sustainable uses of Ocean and Marine Resources; 
  • Ocean Pollution and Environmental Toxins Impact; and 
  • Empowering People, Technology and Resources for the Ocean.

Further, the WMU team also joined the UN City School Services colleagues at the Sustainability Island in Aarhus to showcase WMU’s work and to host an Ocean Trivia for an open audience in the event area. Through an interactive software, participants joined through their phones to test their knowledge of the Ocean.

Notably, the GOI Director was invited as a key expert to contribute to the Genova Process Innovation Workshop on June 2nd organized by The Ocean Race, the Mayor of Genova, Earth Law Centre and Nature’s Rights. The focus of the workshop was to develop a document outlining principles underpinning ocean rights. The event outcome is planned to be presented at The Ocean Race Summit at the UN Headquarters in New York on September 18th 2023.

In addition to the capacity building activities, the GOI Director and team attended Official The Ocean Race Summit on 1 June that included panels with influential speakers, from government including the Minister of Finance as well as the Mayor of Aarhus, and also industry, civil society and youth led organizations that addressed some of the most pressing issues affecting the ocean and their work on promoting ocean protection and “the power of sailing to influence positive change within the industry, the intersection of science, shipping and sailing, the key role of youth in ocean action, sustainable fashion, and feature innovative solutions to protect and regenerate the ocean”. A video highlight from the Summit event is available here and the full summit on the Ocean Race: Racing with Purpose Youtube page here.

These were the first events conducted by WMU for The Ocean Race. The University is grateful for the collaboration with UN City School Services and welcomes further collaboration with schools to engage and empower youth, give back to the community and build capacity. 

To view example posters from the workshops, click here.

About the Ocean Race and Ocean Race Stopover Aarhus

Since 1973, The Ocean Race has been active, providing the ultimate test of a team and a human adventure for sailors. The Ocean Race is described as the longest and toughest professional sporting event in the world, sailing’s toughest team challenge and one of the sport’s Big Three events, alongside the Olympic Games and America’s Cup, as it’s a round-the-clock pursuit of competitive edge and the ultimate ocean marathon.

The 2022-2023 race started from Alicante, Spain on January 15th 2023, and will finish in Genova, the Grand Finale, in Italy early in the summer of 2023. The race visits nine iconic cities around the globe over a six-month period (Alicante, Spain - Cabo Verde - Cape Town, South Africa - Itajaí, Brazil - Newport, RI, USA - Aarhus, Denmark - Kiel Fly-By, Germany - The Hague, the Netherlands - Genova, Italy) and features a leg with the longest racing distance in the 50-year history of the event - a 12,750 nautical mile, one-month marathon from Cape Town, South Africa to Itajaí, Brazil.

In partnership with The Ocean Race, a number of educational programmes were developed in the Aarhus Stopover for students in primary and secondary education for use as part of their learning activities in the 2022–23 school year. Emphasis was placed on ocean protection and sustainability for this world event, and sustainability will continue to be a core value of the race as it moves forward, to redouble the efforts to restore ocean health and lead, inspire and engage on this critical issue.

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