Dr. Awni Behnam, Honorary President of the International Ocean Institute, pictured at ZMT's Capacity Development Conference in Berlin in 2019  | Photo: Oliver Lang, ZMT

The International Ocean Institute (IOI) is a world leading independent, non-governmental, non-profit organisation conducting training and capacity building in Ocean Governance globally. It aims to train young and mid-career practitioners in contemporary approaches to coastal and ocean management, with an emphasis on the moral, ethical and legal values in Ocean Governance (equity and peaceful uses of the ocean).

In 1972, the IOI was founded by Professor Elisabeth Mann Borgese. Its establishment was a milestone in the struggle to promote the concept of Pacem in Maribus (peace in the oceans) and conservation of the ocean and its resources so that future generations can share in their benefits. The IOI enjoys special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and consultative status at some of UN’s Specialized Agencies, the IOI works to uphold and expand the principle of the common heritage as defined in the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.

In 2019, Professor Anna-Katharina Hornidge, Head of the Social Sciences Department at ZMT succeeded Dr. Werner Ekau, who was at the helm of IOI Germany since the opening of the German branch in 2002.

Following Prof. Hornidge's move to the German Institute for Development Research (DIE) - now IDOS - German Institute of Development and Sustainability, Dr. Ekau took over as head of the IOI Germany until his retirement in September 2022. On 1 October, Professor Raimund Bleischwitz, Scientific Director of ZMT, became head of the International Ocean Institute (IOI) Germany.