Scholars and the Seas

International House Davis held their annual Asilomar Conference this November in the beautiful Monterey Bay area. For two days, Fulbright Scholars, Families, and Volunteers were joined by Humphrey Fellows to learn about, “The Oceans: Managing Critical Issues”. They heard from guest speakers from the Hopkins Marine Station, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Monterey Bay National Sanctuary, which are among the top research centers on the West Coast.

mont bay

Humphrey Fellows and Fulbright Scholars visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Left to Right: Kakhaber Bakhtadze (Georgia), Carmel Christy Kattithara (India), Tannia Mayorga (Ecuador), Harum Mukhayer (Sudan), Tomasz Koncweicz (Poland), Nirina Fenoarifara (Madagascar), Humberto Camacho (Bolivia), and Ivar Kruusenberg (Estonia)

They learned about many marine issues, such as “The Death and Life of Monterey Bay”. This bay underwent a 100 year restoration project that was once polluted to death but now has been restored to life and is a marine sanctuary. They also learned about the adaptability of marine life under extreme conditions.


Children of Fulbright Scholars strolled down the Asilomar Boardwalk

The conference was also hosted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the largest and most comprehensive aquariums in America and a leader in ocean conservation, research and education. They were able to see the tools and perspectives used by marine biologists and others in the field. On the final day of the tour, scholars presented on ocean issues from their countries, specifically: fisheries in Norway, education about ocean conservation in Norway, drilling for oil and the tar sands in Canada, and ocean acidification in Spain.


Fulbright Visiting Scholars Panel with Bernt Aarset and Jessica Marks (Norway), Philippe Le Billon (British Colombia, Canada) and Joaquim Garrabou (Spain) to discuss critical marine issues in their home countries

A main takeaway from the conference was the importance of citizen involvement in saving the oceans and promoting policies to create more marine sanctuaries, and demand restrictions which will further protect the seas.

group pic

A group photo of Fulbright Visiting Scholars, Humphrey Fellows, Advisory Committee members and staff at the beautiful Asilomar Conference grounds