On September 12, 2020, "Blue Pioneers" from all over the country met online to start a new year's journey.
At the launching ceremony, Dr. ZHANG Junjie, Director of the Environmental Research Center at Duke Kunshan University, and YANG Fangyi, Strategic Director of the Conservation Alliance of the Paradise Foundation, addressed the trainees.
Dr. ZHANG Junjie
Environmental research is a field that requires a combination of research and practice. After all, we need to solve practical problems. The implementation of conscious marine environmental protection is critical. The Blue Pioneers Program combines academic research, policy, enterprises, and NGOs to provide a new perspective for everyone. The trainees of Blue Pioneers Program are all experienced and enthusiastic veterans in the field of environmental protection and public welfare. One challenge Blue Pioneers Program faces each year is how to meet everyone's diverse background and provide you with high-quality courses. Like Duke Kunshan University, the Program is also in a "startup period."
Due to the pandemic, some courses would have to be carried out online, which brought both new opportunities and challenges to the Program. One important issue Blue Pioneers Program still needs to explore is how to continue to provide high-quality courses and strong support to trainees and alumni in post-pandemic.
Since Blue Pioneer was established at Duke Kunshan University, we have aspired to build Blue Pioneers Program into the “Hupan University" in the realm of environmental protection. We hope to cultivate and incubate entrepreneurs through our program. With the support of the Blue Pioneers alumni, dreams are becoming reality step by step. I hope that the students in 2020 might one day become lecturers of the program.
Dr. Kathinka Fürst
Kathinka Fürst, Associate Director of the international Master of Environmental Policy Program at Duke Kunshan University, also addressed the trainees in the opening ceremony.
A key word in Dr. Fürst's speech was "emotion." Professor Fürst, who grew up by water, has a deep love for the ocean. The trainees of the Program are also a group of people who love the ocean. It is the love of the ocean and the enthusiasm for ocean conservation that unites everyone. Past blue pioneers became deeply emotionally involved during training. I hope that the students in 2020 can enjoy this journey and become like a family.
The 2020 cohort also solemnly promise to do their part in protecting the oceans.
On September 15, 2020, the blue pioneers met online again to listen to the launch ceremony lecture by LI Binbin, Assistant Professor of the Environmental Policy Master Program at Duke Kunshan University.
Dr. Binbin Li lectured on the importance of biodiversity, current research on marine biodiversity, the challenges of ocean conservation, etc. to the trainees in simple but vivid language. The students actively used the chat room to interact with Dr. Li.
During the Q&A, participants shared their thoughts on marine biodiversity and marine protected areas. Several trainees from non-marine related majors expressed that they wanted to start learning more concepts related to biodiversity. The trainees with background knowledge discussed with Professor Li regarding the human and financial resources required for the establishment and management of protected areas and international cooperation.
At the end of September, trainees will begin the first module. The lectures at the launching ceremony inspired the participants and left them curious to learn more. The 2020 cohort are about to ride the wind and waves, let us wait and see the growth of a new generation of marine conservation entrepreneurs!
Collectively funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Paradise Foundation, the Environmental Research Center at Duke Kunshan University hosted the 2020 "Blue Pioneers Program”, which aims to cultivate local marine conservation talents in China.