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Outstanding regional and rural leadership


Fellow develops acclaimed international coral reef leaders program

Fellow develops acclaimed international coral reef leaders program


Dr Adam Smith, ARLF Fellow – Course 15, attributes the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) as his inspiration for developing the 2016 International Coral Reef Management and Leadership Program in Townsville, north Queensland, which took place in October.

Adam, Director of Reef Ecologic, is dedicated to coral reef conservation and decided to develop the program as “effective management of coral reefs has never been more important, as reefs and the people who depend on them confront the global challenges of climate change and population growth.”

The program, funded under the Australia Awards Fellowship Program, brought together 17 participants from three oceans (Caribbean, Pacific and Indian) around the world to share experiences and learn from world experts in coral reef management.

The program includes two courses – one on high level leadership for marine resource managers, and one on excellence in reef management, with participants from each course coming together during a one-week overlap period on Orpheus Island Research Station.

Representation from countries such as Malaysia, Yap, Cook Island, Papua New Guinea, Jamaica, Antigua and Honduras, undertook experiential learning on the reef, at research stations and industry visits. The participants heard from experts from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Reef HQ, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University, the University of Queensland, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Reef Ecologic.

The participants attended several practical management and networking sessions. Highlights included an intensive leadership course with AboutmyBrain Institute, foundations in marine park management course and lectures and activities discussing vision, culture, values, citizen science, stewardship, resilience, reef recovery, Environmental impact assessment, communication and other tools. The participants recorded their learning in a Reflective Journal.

“This training gave me a great opportunity to learn and personally witness how Australia effectively managed its coral reef and the overall management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The issues Australia encountered are similar to what we have back home. At the end of the training, I would be in a better position to address those issues,” said Lotokufaki Paka Kaitu, Senior Fisheries Officer, Coastal Division of the Tuvalu Fisheries Department.

Matt Linnegar, Chief Executive from the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, said “we are pleased to see one of our Fellows developing such an important initiative. Adam’s commitment to the greater good of Australia and the rest of the world, makes him a courageous, influential and ethical leader.”

Reef Ecologic propose to facilitate two coral reef leadership capacity building programs in 2017. One will be designed for global coral reef leaders and managers for 2-3 weeks in October. And a new program for Australian coral reef and fisheries managers for 1-2 weeks.

For more information, see http://www.reefecologic.org/

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