Some of the marine-themed projects made of recycled litter produced by Year 5 students from Birkirkara Primary and presented on the annual ocean literacy day at the Malta National Aquarium
The University of Malta has been entrusted to host the next European ocean literacy conference, known as the EMSEA conference, in October 2017. EMSEA is the European Marine Science Educators Association which focuses on promoting a greater awareness of the ocean/sea and the role it plays in human lives as laid down in the seven principles of ocean literacy. EMSEA, a registered non-profit organisation acting as a platform for ocean education, was founded by three leading marine science institutions in Europe – VLIZ (Bruges, Belgium), University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and the Plymouth Marine Station (UK) – on the footsteps of the corresponding organisation in the US – NMEA – which was founded in the 1970s. An EMSEA-MED group has also recently been formed within the structure of EMSEA. EMSEA holds an annual conference to bring together ocean literacy practitioners from all around Europe and one of the long-term goals of this movement is the formulation of accredited educational material on ocean literacy which can be incorporated within school curricula across Europe.
The EMSEA 17 conference is being held at the Valletta campus of the University of Malta, on the 9th and 10th of October, whilst a teachers’ seminar is being held on the 7th October at the Malta National Aquarium. The dates were hand-picked so as to constitute a continuous stream with the Our Ocean conference being organised on the 5th and 6th October by the European Commission (DG Mare) and thus promote a single participation by long-haul participants to both high-level meetings.
Prof. Alan Deidun from the Department of Geosciences is leading the University’s organising committee, which also features Prof. Paul J Pace, Director of the Centre for Environmental Education and Research (CEER). The University of Malta has been organising an annual ocean literacy day every 8th June (World Oceans Day) for the past two years, whilst it has co-organised an ocean literacy seminar last December as part of the annual IOI (International Ocean Institute) Ocean Governance course.
The first announcement of the conference can be accessed online. The full conference website will be launched by March and will feature a call for abstracts, the major thematics of the conference as well as logistical details for prospective participants. A number of local public entities have already pledged their support to the EMSEA Malta conference, including the Ministry for the Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change (MSDEC), the Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE) and the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA), as well as the Malta National Aquarium. Any private entity interested in offering sponsorship support for the event is kindly asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org