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World Oceans Day Celebration 2014

Cultural Event, including the award ceremony
for participants of the visual story telling contest
under the auspices of Mrs. Maria Damanaki, Member of the European Commission

Rue de la Loi 38, 11 June 2014, 18h30 to 20h00


   Engaging with the oceans

"We need new narratives that connect with peoples’ deepest motivations and promote more radical action. Stories engage people at every level - not just in their minds but in their emotions, values and imaginations, which are the drivers of real change.  So if we want to transform society, we must learn to tell - and listen to - a new set of stories about the world we want to create.” 

Simon Hodges, Storyteller

We are called to be the architects of our future, not its victims.”

R. Buckminster Fuller


 18h30 Welcome with the sounds of the ocean (music performance) and with some food and drinks

 18h50 World Oceans Day addresses
Dr Cornelia E Nauen,
Mundus maris
Serge Gomes da Silva, FARNET
Jan Seys, VLIZ Oostende

 19h00 A story about the oceans – a passionate call for action from Senegal

 19h15 Presentation of the jury and the handing of awards to winning schools, Danny van Belle

 19h35 Projection of one video and one pecha kucha

 19h50 View the picture gallery of FARNET and listen to the music







Danny van Belle Co Ltd.


Read on to see the collaborating artists.



We are happy to announce Béatrice Rentmeister (flute) and Pierre Clément Dubuisson (bassoon)


Béatrice Rentmeister has graduated in parallel as lawyer and flutist, at the Universities and Conservatoires in Cologne and Paris. Her latest teachers in flute were Martine Fleuriault and Emmanuel Burlet, students of Pierre Rampal. She was part of the flute orchestra of Arlette Biget in Orléans, different symphonic orchestras and a number of chamber music ensembles of classical as well as of traditional and jazz music in Cologne, Paris, Argentina and Brussels.


Pierre Clément Dubuisson graduated as a translator (French, English, German) at the University of Mons. He also studied the flute and chamber music at the Conservatoire royal de Mons. He then turned to the bassoon. His teachers were Hugues Kesteman in Brussels and Kim Walker in Geneva.

Parallel to his carreer as a Belgian diplomat he played in a number of chamber music ensembles and orchestras including the Kiev Chamber Orchestra, the Odessa Philharmonic and the Estonian State Orchestra. Pierre also created Les Musiciens d'Europe, a multinational orchestra.


Béatrice and Pierre are actively exploring the very original repertoire for flute and bassoon in which Bachianas Brasileiras n°6 by Heitor Villa Lobos and Impromptus by Jean Françaix are enjoyable milestones.


1. Tango Etude n° 4 - Astor Piazzolla (flute solo)

2. Bachianas Brasileiras n° 6 - Heitor Villa-Lobos (flute, bassoon)

3. Impromptus n° 1, 2, 4, 6 - Jean Françaix (flute, bassoon)


Read on for the visual artist joining as well.




Enjoying the cultural event


The reception with Spanish tapas and other goodies, drinks and music created a welcoming environment.


Some fifty people had followed the invitation to the cultural event to celebrate World Oceans Day 2014 together through a conversation with the oceans.


Participants eased into the event finding old and new acquaintances to chat with until the start of the 'official programme'.


It was a relaxed moment diving into a different setting away from office stress, school exams, travel or what else participants came from. 



Commensurate with the theme of the festive occasion, "Conversation with the Oceans", visual artist Irina Oancea displayed selective works in a solo exhibition. 




Altogether she showed seven of her very evocative paintings.  Inspired by her origins in the Danube Delta in Romania the fluid play of forms and colours made the minds of watchers travel across the ocean.



The paintings contributed wonderfully to framing the event and helping to connect to the oceans that make our climate, support life on Earth and provide us with food, recreation and connectivity around the globe.



Starting out to the sounds of French neo-classical composer Jean Françaix the guests moved into the main room.




Watching pictures of the ocean and the video interview with Awa Seye, the leader of fisher women in Senegal based in Guet Ndar, Saint Louis, they listened to Impromptus no. 1, 2, 4 and 6. virtuously played by the Duo Béatrice Rentmeister (flute) and Pierre Clément Dubuisson (bassoon).




Thus getting into the programme proper, Cornelia E Nauen welcomed the guests on behalf of Mundus maris.


She reminded the audience of the three principal threats to the ocean, overfishing with its devastating degradation of marine ecosystems all over the world, climate change translating into sealevel rise, acidification and poleward migration of all mobile marine creatures and coral death in the tropical belt, and pollution.

The latter had come to the forefront of the general public's awareness through the discovery of wide swaths of debris, abandoned fishing nets and plastics of any shape and colour when the international rescue efforts were looking for disappeared flight MH370.

Pollution has also another ugly face, notably expanding dead zones of ocean as a result of agricultural run off and untreated waste water of different origin.

She urged the guests not to become depressed or cynical with the many worrying indications about the poor state of the oceans.

One of the main objectives of this celebration of World Oceans Day 2014 was to share a sign of hope that from the most local to the global remedial action was possible. She also invited resolve to take action to change for the better and to invest in opportunities particularly for young people to engage.


In turn, Serge Gomes da Silva welcomed the guests on behalf of FARNET. FARNET is an EU Project in support of innovative action for transitions towards a more sustainable fisheries sector across Europe and a co-sponsor of the event. He also acknowledged Fundación Galicia Europa kindly offering its venue. Serge Gomes highlighted the many projects that were taking place in all coastal regions, including school projects.



Next was Jan Seys of Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) in Oostende and an active member of the Communication Group of the European Marine Board offering manyfold outreach and information activities to capture the wider public's attention for the oceans and marine research. The Communication Group was also a co-sponsor of the invitation to schools and youth groups to tell a visual story about the ocean as a contribution to celebrating World Oceans Day 2014.


Jan Seys spoke passionately about how we are all connected through the food we eat, the air we breathe, travel and commerce, disease, pleasure and climate. He recalled that instead of emphasising the differences between different ocean basins, we should be more aware that indeed the ocean enveloping our planet was indeed one and that all the water masses were circulating in one big system of currents that connected all outcrops of land.


He invited curiosity for the exploration of the still many unknown features of the ocean. More humans had visited the moon than the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench, which was deeper than the highest elevations in the Himalayas.


The engagement for the ocean takes many forms. At its core it connects local activities and living with what happens globally. It is a stark reminder that many things start locally, but that the combination of many local decisions and activities can lead to unintended negative outcomes as is currently often the case. But it can also lead to restoring nature and social wellbeing, when judiciously aware and informed by global trends.


Cornelia E Nauen then shared just one example of how Mundus maris was supporting local action in Hann, Senegal, that aimed at cleaning up the beaches of the Bay and the entire village and resist the gradual degradation that pulled everybody and everything down with little hope for the future. With animation of local grass root leaders initial sports and cultural activities that drew many inhabitants, the local team of Mundus maris had also supported their initiative to turn the energy of these events towards a clean-up competition pitching all seven parts of the village in a competition for the cleanest beach to celebrate World Oceans Day 2014, 8 June. This social and environmental action was an important gesture to claim decent living conditions and citizenship and taking responsibility for these. And we hope to see that the initiative reaches beyond 8 June to improve Hann throughout the year and create some more youth employment in the process as well.


Then it was finally the turn of the long-awaited presentation by the jury of the results of the visual stories schools and youth groups from different countries had submitted in response to the invitation under the auspices of Mrs. Maria Damanaki, Member of the European Commission.


Danny van Belle, marine underwater videographer and photographer had served as the president of the jury. He told the audience in moving words how he had witnessed the dramatic decline of coral and other marine ecosystems under the onslaught of unsustainable practices in fisheries, coastal tourism and agriculture. Diving for many years regularly in the Andaman he had seen so much of the damsel fish and other creatures relying on the coral disappear when the coral polyps died with rising temperatures in the last couple of years. All that was left of a once rich and biodiverse community were calcarous skeletons turning into rubble over extensive areas.


Living and documenting change in the upper part of the ocean and sharing this with those who do not have the chance to experience ocean life from as close up, Danny van Belle expressed his appreciation for the schools and youth groups who had responded to the invitation of telling a visual story. The jury had examined all entries. Quality was not uniformly high so that the jury did not award first prizes in all categories. But it encouraged all groups to continue deepening their interest and engagement for the ocean and hone their story telling skills to become ever more effective in getting more people to join.

The jury had decided on the following awards:

In the category of international partnerships among youth 12 years and older for a Pecha Kucha story:

1. Prize Biodiversity – Johanna Norin of Nacka Gymnasium, Sweden, coordinated the collaboration with 5th ASEAN+3 Student Camp for the Gifted in Science. The students involved were: Johanna Norin, Sweden; Jing Hao Pang, Singapore; Mai Dieu Quynh, Vietnam; Zi Man Wu, China; Jeong In Choi, Korea; Yoon Je Suh, Korea; Ahmad Afiq, Malaysia; Klara Eklund, Sweden; Cap Marching, Thailand; DK Erfa Afiffah Pg Fazian, Brunei. The prize money is 400 Euro to continue ocean related activities. The winning team decided to donate the prize money to the Arctic and marine programme of WWF Sweden. Watch the Pecha Kucha here on the Mundus maris YouTube Channel.

2. Prize – Overfishing - Seong Ah Kim of the APEC Mentoring Center for the Gifted in Science coordinated with Nacka Gymnasium, Sweden, in collaboration with 5th ASEAN+3 Student Camp for the Gifted in Science. The students involved were: Yazhen Zhang, China; Su Whoan Lim, Korea; Jinyoung Park, Korea; Joel Jy Lim, Singapore; Hanna Syazwani, Malaysia; Jing Rui Goh, Brunei; Pham Chau Anh, Vietnam; Wy Anurakkritsana, Thailand; Linus Tullstedt, Sweden; and Elly Sjolund, Sweden.
The prize money is 200 Euro to continue ocean related activities.

In the category for videos the jury awarded two second prizes,

  • for the international collaboration between the International German School in Brussels and the CEM in Cayar, Senegal, coached respectively by Mr. Björn Bergmann and Mr. Abibou Diop, - watch the short video here; and  
  • for the single participation of Collège St. Augustin in Enghien, Belgium, coached by Ms. Babika Kis.

The groups received their prize money on the spot together with the honorary diplomas and bluray disks with prize-winning underwater films by Danny van Belle. The Brussels Aquarium also offered a free guided visit for the local groups. Congratulations to the happy winners who all expressed wanting to continue improving in order to participate with fresh ideas next year.

Among the illustrated written stories which were submitted outside the initial invitation, the entry by LEA DECOR in Yaoundé, Cameroon, directed by Ms. Ornela Yanou Njaba stood out clearly. She also authored the winning entry.  The group was promoted by Ms. Jeauberte Djamou Tchuidjio, who also supported other groups from Cameroon

Two second prizes went to the Collège St. Joseph de Cluny in Noumea, New Caledonia, coached by Ms. Jannique Eric, and the Mundus maris Club of Collège d'enseignement moyen in Cayar, Senegal, coached by Mr. Abibou Diop.

The jury also recognised specifically two entries from primary schools as an encouragement to continue engaging for the ocean:

  • Primary school Cayar 1 coached by Mr. Ndiaye, Cayar, Senegal, and
  • Ecole primaire et maternelle de Bamendji I in the Haoussa Quarter in Bafoussam, Western Cameroon, directed by Ms. Delphine Danièle Nougwa Djamen.

The jury made special mention of the experimental work of Lyceum 179 in St. Petersburg, Russia, for developing a cheap test for detecting water pollution under the supervision of Ms. A. Obukhovskaya.

We wholeheartedly congratulate all schools and youth groups for their active participation and commitment. They will now receive their honorary diplomas for recognising their creative participation with an encouragement to keep working towards World Oceans Day 2015.