Voices for the Future of the Oceans

13 August 2012 |

On Sunday 19 August 2012, from 09h00 to 13h00, the Two Oceans Aquarium will host the Voices for the Future of the Oceans Youth Symposium. Approximately 20 high school students from around Cape Town have been invited to give presentations and engage in debate around the role of aquariums and how these facilities can best involve the youth. Participating schools include Herschel Girls School, St Cyprian’s School, Hoërskool Stellenbosch, Wynberg Boys’ High School, Steenberg High School, Kensington High School, Hoërskool DF Malan and Zisukhanyo Secondary School.

The Youth Symposium is one of two youth events that has been organised by the Two Oceans Aquarium as part of the 8th International Aquarium Congress (IAC), which takes place from 9 to 14 September 2012 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  In keeping with the theme of the 8th IAC, “The global aquarium community: sharing experiences and collectively inspiring change”, Voices for the Future of the Oceans was created to provide the youth, as key members of the aquarium community, with an opportunity to contribute to the discussions at the 8th IAC.

During the Youth Symposium on 19 August 2012, a panel will adjudicate the presentations and the best speaker will be announced at the end of the proceedings. The best speaker will have the honour of addressing the plenary crowd on the opening day of the 8th IAC.

The best speaker from the Youth Symposium and a group of students will then be invited to participate in the second event, which is an overnight video conference at the Two Oceans Aquarium on Friday 7 September 2012.

During this video conference, kindly sponsored by Vox Pureview and Kathea, Cape Town students will engage in discussions with international students who have gathered at other aquariums around the world, including Institut Océanographique (Monaco), Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, USA), National Marine Aquarium (Plymouth, United Kingdom), Nausicaá, Centre National de la Mer (France), Ocean Park (Hong Kong), Shedd Aquarium (Chicago, USA), and uShaka Marine World (Durban, South Africa).

A synopsis of these discussions and the ensuing resolutions will be presented to the 8th IAC plenary on Monday 10 September 2012. The audience will include delegates from aquariums around the world, as well as invited guests including high school, university and college students, and members of environmental organisations in South Africa. The aim is to expose a wide audience to the role of aquariums in the conservation of the oceans, and to involve them in discussions about the educational role of these facilities.

“We are very excited about this powerful and groundbreaking opportunity to involve the youth in the IAC. Not only will it provide an opportunity for young people around the world to share their concerns and ideas regarding the future of the oceans with one another, but it also provides them with a platform to make their voices heard by the leaders of the aquarium community. This will set the tone for the entire congress, with its themes of sustainability and inspiring change,” said Two Oceans Aquarium Head of Education Russell Stevens.

The IAC is the most important and prestigious event for the global public aquarium industry. Held every four years, it is the only international platform that gathers decision makers and professionals from the global public aquarium community to share and learn about new developments in the fields of inter alia animal husbandry, research, technology, management, education, conservation and sustainability. Hosted by the Two Oceans Aquarium, this is the first time that the congress will be held in Africa and indeed in the southern hemisphere.

Please note that these events are not open to the public. For more information about the ‘Voices for the Future of the Oceans’ events, please contact Katja Rockstroh at the Two Oceans Aquarium on education@aquarium.co.za or 021-418-3823.

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