Information on COVID-19

World Ocean Festival Comes to Governors Island


On June 4, 2017, the inaugural World Ocean Festival, organized by The Global Brain Foundation and hosted by the City of New York, will feature leading marine biologists, ocean advocates, entrepreneurs, and more speaking at a free, public program called World Ocean Festival Speaker Forum sponsored by National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey. The Festival is an effort to bring together people and organizations who care deeply about the Ocean and who will stand together for its protection in advance of “The Ocean Conference” at the United Nations (June 5-9).

The World Ocean Festival Speaker Forum will feature interactive panel discussions about coral reefs, plastic pollution, fishing and seafood and urban Ocean conservation on Sunday, June 4, 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The program is free and open to the public at the Ocean Village exhibition area at Picnic Point at the southern tip of Governors Island. The program will be capped off with a closing ceremony and awards presentation.

Curated and moderated by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D., Founder Ocean Collectiv, the World Ocean Festival Speaker Forum will delve into the issues that threaten the ocean as well as solutions for addressing them in an engaging way. The program includes panel discussions with the world’s experts on topics including “Coral Reefs and Climate” (11:00 a.m.), “Plastic Pollution” (1:30 p.m.), “Fishing and Seafood” (2:30 p.m.) and “Urban Ocean: Conservation” (3:30 p.m.). The program will include a rally featuring global youth ambassadors for the ocean.

Featured speakers include:

  • David Gruber, Marine Biologist, Emerging Explorer, National Geographic
  • Jeremy Jackson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Jessica Harvey, Cayman Islands Project Manager, Guy Harvey Foundation
  • Jon Forrest Dohlin, VP & Director, Wildlife Conservation Society & New York Aquarium
  • Judd Harner, Vice President of Marketing, S’well Bottle
  • Karin Stratton, Partnership Manager, Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program
  • Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director Europe, Oceana
  • Lea D’Auriol, Founder, Oceanic Global
  • Dr. Lisa Emelia Svensson, Director for Ocean, United Nations Environment
  • Martha Jeffries, Producer & Director, Years of Living Dangerously
  • Matt Gove, Mid-Atlantic Policy Manager, Surfrider Foundation
  • Melati Wijsen, Co-Founder, Bye Bye Plastic Bags
  • Miranda Massie, Director, The Climate Museum
  • Murray Fisher, Founder, Harbor School & Billion Oyster Project
  • Nishan Degnarain, Chair Oceans Committee, World Economic Forum
  • Stephanie Wear, PhD., Senior Scientist & Strategy Advisor, The Nature Conservancy
  • Wybe Bruinsma, CEO, Van de Sant
  • Youth Ambassadors from Sea Youth Rise Up and NYC Junior Ambassadors
  • In addition to World Ocean Festival Speaker Forum, the World Ocean Festival will include the first-of-its kind Ocean March parade of boats in New York Harbor led by the historic John J. Harvey fireboat. The Festival Village on Governors Island will feature a performance by a Fijian military band and awards for luminaries in the field of ocean science, environmental sustainability, global and local organizing, and ocean advocacy. The full program of activities can be found online at the World Ocean Festival website with registration information and a detailed program listing and speaker bios.

The City of New York and The Global Brain are joined by leaders in ocean conservation, advocacy, and sustainable development our Founding Partners Mission Blue, Ocean Elders, Oceanic and The Nature Conservancy. This event is made possible by support from Founding Sponsor Toyota USA and National Geographic.

Core Supporters of the World Ocean Festival include Peace Boat,Connect4Climate, Ocean Collectiv and NGO Committee of Sustainable Development-NY. Additional supporters include: Classic Harbor Line, Conscious Good, Ocean Film Festival, Style & Resilience, TerraCycle, Waterkeeper Alliance, AEFocus, Connect 4 Climate, NGO Committee of Sustainable Development-NY,Metcalf Institute, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, We Are The Oceans, Clean Seas, Bye Bye Plastics, Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Educators Association, Mukaro, RiseUP, Blue Mind, The Foundation Center, Waterfront Alliance, Sailors for the Sea, The Lonely Whale Foundation, Sea Youth Rise Up, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Blue Ocean Network, Second Muse, Wildlife Conservation Societyand NYC Junior Ambassadors.

The World Ocean Festival is a public event hosted by the City of New York and organized by The Global Brain Foundation to raise peoples’ voices for the preservation and sustainable use of the Ocean (Sustainable Development Goal 14) in advance of the The Ocean Conference at United Nations Headquarters, which aims to be the game changer that will reverse the decline in the health of our ocean for people, planet and prosperity. For more information about the World Ocean Festival and to register for the Ocean March on June 4, 2017, visit: