Youth Ambassadors from 13 countries learn to fight for the Atlantic Ocean

Galway daily news Marine Institute welcoming university students for 2023 Bursary programme
Marine Institute Headquarters at Renville, Oranmore

Galway’s Marine Institute is helping young people from around the world fight for the future of the Atlantic Ocean.

Twenty-three Youth Ambassadors from countries connected to the Atlantic Ocean have been taking part in a Summer School at the Marine Institute for the past week.

This inaugural summer school is meant to equip young people with the skills and knowledge to fight for the ocean’s future through engagement with political, social, economic and scientific leaders.

The Youth Ambassadors have been learning from experts on how to develop communication campaigns on ocean issues, reach out and engage local communities and experience the challenges of those living by the ocean.

The Summer School has also introduced them to the the power of science diplomacy and the work of the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.

Galway TD and Minister of state for the Gaeltacht and the Islands met with the Youth Ambassadors on Saturday.

“With the Atlantic Ocean facing significant challenges posed by climate change and marine pollution, due to plastics in particular, the health of our ocean relies on the voices of the next generation to continue the current momentum for change.”

“I welcome our Youth Ambassadors to Galway, and congratulate them for taking part in this initiative,” Seán Kyne said.

“This Summer School will encourage our young ambassadors to raise awareness of the crucial value of our oceans in their own communities and contribute to the global momentum for change.”

The programme includes Youth Ambassadors from Ireland, Iceland, Canada, United States of America, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina and Cabo Verde.

Ireland’s first All Atlantic Youth Ambassadors are Eimear Manning and John Armstrong, who were selected by the National Youth Council of Ireland on behalf of the Marine Institute.

Eimear completed a Masters in Marine Sustainability, and is currently working in environmental education, presenting workshops nationwide on marine sustainability, plastic pollution and water consumption.

John Armstrong completed a degree in Ecology and works as an Educational Assistant at Fota Wildlife Park and volunteers with the Nature Network.

After completing the Summer School, the Youth Ambassadors will be assigned a project partner and develop campaigns and actions to address the sustainability challenges faced by the Atlantic Ocean, and pitch their achievements at the All Atlantic Forum in 2020.

Dr Peter Heffernan CEO of the Marine Institute said, “To ensure a healthy ocean for us now and for future generations, we all need to be better informed about how the ocean affects us and how we affect the ocean.”

“This Summer School will equip our All-Atlantic Youth Ambassadors with the skills to become ocean leaders and marine champions, inspire them to work together and strive for a protected, nurtured and sustainably harnessed ocean.”

The Summer School has been developed by the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Co-ordination & Support Action led by the Marine Institute with the assistance of the National Youth Council of Ireland.