From vision to mission: All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador Summer School in Galway, Ireland

Recently, young marine scientists and leading members of the Galway Statement, Belém Statement and EU Horizon 2020 AORA-CSA and AANChOR coordination and support actions (i.a. Dr. Werner Ekau, ZMT) met for the first summer school of the All Atlantic Youth Ambassadors in the Irish city of Galway. In a city, located on the west coast of Ireland, consistently influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, the group was welcomed at an icebreaker event with traditional Irish music. The melodies were so catching that already then, some volunteers started learning the traditional Irish dance, a good omen for strong cooperation in the following days.

Hosted by the Marine Institute Ireland, this summer school saw Youth Ambassadors from 14 countries, framing the Atlantic Ocean, gathering to develop campaigns to increase ocean literacy and awareness for the Atlantic Ocean within communities and across countries. Kick-off was day one with speeches by the Irish Minister of State for Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Seán Kyne, and members of the European Commission (Healthy Planet Directorate, DG Research & Innovation, John Bell and Sigi Gruber), as well as members of different Institutions and organisations, like the Brazilian Ministry and South African Department for Science and Technology and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “The young generation must do things differently if we want to have a better world for the future. And how we do this is the big question for the All Atlantic Youth Ambassadors who will be tackling this at the summer school“, appealed the Minister of State. “Do the impossible... but – no pressure!“, added CEO of the Marine Institute Galway, Dr. Peter Heffernan.

Presentations, Inspiration und Discussions

In the following days, we were trained in workshops about public work, social media and project development whilst being supported throughout the process by an international team and the National Youth Council of Ireland. The permanent presence of a cameraman and a social media expert made all of us aware that this was going to become something big!

And this is how we were encouraged to develop ideas and present them at the final day. These ideas, being in line with the Galway (2013) and the Belém Statement (2017), shall promote ocean literacy and improve ocean health through the implementation of projects and campaigns. The task is to reach out to local communities in different countries and communicate the importance of the Atlantic Ocean for them and the world, not only for fisheries and tourism but for the global climate, cultures and traditions alike. The Summer School aimed at equipping Youth Ambassadors with the knowledge and skills to become actors for change for the Atlantic Ocean using science communication.

These five days were packed with intensive work, fascinating topics and people. Now, we are all back in our home-countries with six months to develop our ideas. In February 2020 we will present them before the European Commission at the Charlemagne Building in Brussels

By Natalie Prinz, All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador, Germany


The All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador Summer School took place in Galway (Ireland) from 24th - 27th August and was initiated by the EU Commission’s AANChOR Projekt (All AtlaNtic Cooperation for Ocean Research and innovation). The ZMT is leading the project on behalf of the German Marine Research Consortium (Konsortiums Deutsche Meeresforschung, KDM) and is responsible for the two work packages Capacity Development and Information & Data Sharing; AANChOR is a joint project from members of the KDM, ministries, funding organisations, governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental institutions as well as consultancies.