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From Buenos Aires with Love

The 2023 World Ocean Day Celebration at the University of Belgrano, jointly organised on 6 June 2023 by the University, Mundus maris, and Terra Curanda, was a hybrid of both face to face and virtual. Presenters and participants from Africa, Europe and Latin America contributed through planning and implementation, a nice cooperation at a time when international confrontations appear to be on the rise.

In the 2023 World Ocean Day we had the special visit of Dr. Stella Williams, Vice President of Mundus maris, a prestigious academic from Nigeria and first panelist, who was warmly received by the director of the International Department of the Universidad de Belgrano, Mag. Eduardo Diez, together with Dr. Lilian Ferré, director of the Biology career who later opened the workshop.

The first planelist was Lic. Juan Jones, Mayor of the Makenke Marine Interjurisdictional Park, Province of Santa Cruz, Argentina. He explained the dynamics of a marine protected area like the one he manages, and all the challenges involved. Next was Dr. Patricia Morales, University of Leuven, Belgium, and also Vice President of  Mundus maris.  Patricia spoke about the interconnections between the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the lense of human rights, ocean and paintings from famous artists expressing fundamental human conditions and the relation with nature.

Dr. Paola Laurini, teacher of the subject Economics of Natural Resources at the Universidad de Belgrano, from the General Directorate of Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Tourism and Protected Areas, Chubut Province, Argentina, was the last speaker. She gave the audience a realistic vision of the practical issues faced in a marine protected area, including conflict of interest.

Moderation of the event was by Dr. Marcelo L. Morales Yokobori, professor of Marine Resources at Belgrano University and also Vice President of Mundus maris. He also published an opinion article in the Argentinean newspaper Perfil providing background information (in Spanish).

The diverse perspectives of the panelists ensured that the attention of the audience in the room and online was kept up. To liven up the programme the 'Book of the Marine World' fresh from the press was presented. The book contains a selection of contributions to Mundus maris Awards 2014-2020 addressing the respective UN mottos. A raffle among on-site participants led to five happy recipients of the book.

But it would not be World Ocean Day without the quiz. 108 of the 138 registered Latin American participants tested their knowledge on international agreements related to ocean affairs and fisheries. Likewise five interested persons from Nigeria took the English version of the quiz. It was good to see that a majority got all or most of the answers right. The high number of participants with wrong answers specifically on the World Trade Organization (WTO) is then an invitation to keep working so that the basics are clear in everybody's mind.

Harmful fisheries subsidies are the major driver in industrial overfishing and many illicit practices at sea, which are difficult to monitor and control. WTO had the mandate for more than 20 years for phasing them out. It only started to find solutions to this extremely harmful practice in 2022, after several years of huge civil society campaigning to which Mundus maris also contributed.

The organisers gratefully acknowledge Carla Bonelli, who translated Stella Williams' talk into Spanish simultaneously, and Bianca Franzolini who was in charge of coordinating the Google Meet platform for the hybrid event.

Last but not least a selection of the photos submitted to an online contest were recognised. See them below.

The next day, 7 June, 5th year biology students registered in the subject course Marine Resources held a participatory workshop on the WOD theme of the year, as a virtual exchange with students from the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. They recorded greetings in three languages to each other, in Spanish, English and Yoruba.

The jury of the photography contest was composed of Patricia Morales, Stella Williams and Marcelo L. Morales Yokobori. The jury confered the following awards:

There are three prizes regarding different aspects of photography. As cetaceans can reach great depths, the Whale Award recognizes the profoundness of the image. Some marine birds can fly extremely long distances, reminding us how important is communication between different cultures, so the Albatross Awards recognize the message of the image. Cnidarian species can provide us with a symphony of colours and beauty; therefore, the Coral Awards recognize the visuality of the images.

Whale Award (to the depth)


Albatross Award (to the message)


Albatross Award  Coral Award
One of these things is not like the others
Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
by Isabel Clara Acosta Coley
Intertidal zone
by Anthony Oswaldo Plua Mercham








Here is another Coral Award (to visuality)



Sun, Beach, and Peace in my Community, Playa Muerto, Darien Province, Panama

by Milagros Aldirelys González Samudio



Happy World Ocean Day to all!









A more detailed report about the various activities, including comments by students, is available here.