07.10.2016 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Former IOC-UNESCO Executive Secretary leads new ocean research institute at Dalhousie University

Wendy Watson-Wright, Ocean Frontier Institute CEO and former Executive Secretary of the IOC-UNESCO © UNESCO/P_Chiang-Joo

At the helm of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO until 2015, Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright has been appointed to lead Canada’s new Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI).

The Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) is a collaborative research initiative to harness the vast potential of the world’s ocean and meet the ecological, economic and societal challenges of the future. With a focus on the Northwest Atlantic and Canadian Arctic Gateway, and as an international hub for ocean science, OFI brings together researchers and institutes from a number of countries to help understand our changing ocean and create safe, sustainable solutions for ocean development.

OFI is the result of a partnership among the flagship universities of three Atlantic Canadian provinces (DalhousieUniversity in Nova Scotia, Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Prince Edward Island). The Institute is also supported by Canadian federal laboratories, the Royal Canadian Navy, National Film Board of Canada and national and international industry.  OFI will contribute to a wide network of knowledge sharing that includes eight major international ocean research institutes from France, Germany, Ireland, Norway and the USA – including four of the top five in the world.

Vladimir Ryabinin, the current Executive Secretary of the IOC-UNESCO, believes that the creation of the Ocean Frontier Institute is “an obvious sign of the ongoing renaissance in Canadian ocean scientific research. The OFI will play an important role in understanding the changes our ocean is undergoing and will offer responses through innovation, collaboration and scientific discovery. And who could better lead the Institute in its ambitious undertaking than someone so experienced in the challenges of ocean science and governance as Dr. Watson-Wright?”

Dr. Watson-Wright, known to IOC-UNESCO colleagues simply as “Wendy”, headed the organization during a challenging time when IOC sought to expand the role of the ocean and science in emerging global policy frameworks, from the climate negotiations to the development of the new sustainable development agenda. “Wendy’s successful and energetic tenure at IOC leaves no doubt that she will guide the Ocean Frontier Institute to a very bright future,” said Rejane Hervé-Smadja, Outreach Focal Point and Senior Assistant to the IOC Executive Secretary.

The whole IOC Secretariat wishes Wendy every success in leading the OFI, which is a new exciting page in her outstanding service to oceanography.

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