Luana Garcia de Carvalho is a biologist and au pair from Brazil living with her host family in Virginia. Recently, she attended Our Ocean, One Future, a prestigious international conference hosted by the U.S. Department of State, Georgetown University and the Sustainable Oceans Alliance. Below, she writes about the experience and shares her thoughts about the opportunity.
Hi everyone! My name is Luana. I’ve been here for almost one year, and I have some pretty exciting news!
Last week I had an amazing opportunity. I attended the conference Our Ocean, One Future. This was the third year for this conference and the second time being held in Washington, D.C. This was the first year they had a parallel event, Our Ocean, One Future Leadership Summit, at Georgetown University.
I am a biologist, and when I saw that my Community Counselor posted this event on Facebook, I was super excited! I signed up, and I was selected! Yey!
Ok, but what was this conference about?
Well, it was an international conference, that was held on September 15 and 16. The focus was on Marine Protected Areas, Climate Change, Sustainable Fisheries and Marine Pollution. The goal was “to catalyze actions to protect our ocean from threats and to empower a new generation to lead the way toward a healthy and sustainable ocean.” Leaders and environmentalists from all around the world came here to discuss these topics and their proposals.
For the first time, the summit included a parallel event, Our Ocean, One Future Leadership Summit, to bring together young people from all around the world to do the same thing that the “grown ups” have been doing for two years. We had amazing speakers and they encouraged how we are capable of reaching our goals.
The first day and the second day of the Leadership Summit consisted of lectures. At the conclusion of the first day there was a concert where environmentalists talked and some musicians presented. At the conclusion of the second day we visited the main conference at the U.S. Department of State hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Here are a few of my favorite presentations:
- Philippe & Ashlan Cousteau
Philippe has environmentalist blood. His father and grandfather [Jacques Cousteau] were super engaged in environmental and conservation issues and now he has continued this work. His wife Ashlan is an entertainment journalist. They were included in the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week this year with the documentary “Nuclear Sharks.”
- Anna Oposa
Anna is co-Founder of Save Philippine Seas. She created the first sanctuary for sharks and rays in the Philippine seas. You can learn more about her conservation work by visiting www.savephilippineseas.org.
- Sylvia Earle
Sylvia is a marine biologist, explorer, author, lecturer and a National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence. She navigates submarines and has spent more than 7,000 hours under the water. It is interesting to say that National Geographic has a nice program for young explorers.
- Conservation International
Conservation International is a nonprofit environmental organization. They had a booth in the conference displaying a Virtual Reality called Valen’s Reef about the reefs in Indonesia.
After attending the conference on the second day, myself and others with J-1 visas were invited to a dinner with the Office of Private Sector Exchange. It was nice to see the different programs that the same visa has. You can read more J-1 stories online about past and current participants of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs.
I had I nice time at the conference, and because I met people from all around the world it was nice to see how people can achieve the same goals, despite coming from different places. I had a chance to participate in a great event that gave me inspiration to continue to work towards my goals.
I think the experience of attending Our Ocean, One Future was an amazing opportunity to see how people are engaged in diverse areas. It was also a great opportunity to improve my English in a specific area in the field of biology. I hope every au pair has an opportunity to do something like this while living in the United States.
Thanks Luana for your commitment to our global environment and for sharing your experiences with our readers. Your attendance at Our Ocean, One Future, as a participant in the Au Pair in America program, makes us proud. Thanks again!