The Nippon Foundation GEBCO Training
Program basically trains young people in ocean mapping It was a wonderful opportunity to develop new ideas with the young hydrographers and scientists. One of the really good things about this training program is that it’s been hosted at the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center at the University of New Hampshire So the students get to meet leaders in their field at a leading institution. Working with not only with the university but some of the companies, private sector, technology developments. A lot of that comes through CCOM that’s really really important. It’s getting students from different
part of the world with a passion for ocean mapping, or something in common ocean-related, putting them together in a
room and trying to develop the collaboration between the Scholars.
Trying to develop a network, trying to see how we can all work together. Because, as you know the oceans are not completely mapped. We’re now in the twelfth year, and so
we’ve had total of 72, and they come from 35 different countries in the world. It is, for us, absolutely necessary to have young people coming also from different
disciplines, from different countries, and also from developing countries, which is
very important to involve them. You get the real benefits if you can have two or three people from one country because they work together, they’ve had a common experience, they can do things in their organizations. It involves a lot of theoretical and also practical program, and you can learn a lot there. They do academic component where they do a lot of actual training of the academic courses with the graduate students at UNH. They also get to do a lot of practical training and software. They get to visit some of the NOAA
Facilities around the US. And at the end of the academic year
they get to do something that’s called the the summer hydro, or summer hydrographic, course. And this is sort of a culmination of all the academic work that they’ve done. They get to plan, acquire, process data, and then produce a product. And it’s done largely on their own. And it gives a lot of them their first exposure to working at sea. People get trained and they help in the mapping but the Nippon Foundation
doesn’t fund the mapping as such, they fund the people and the development of people. Building the committee was the most important part of this project, the whole GEBCO Nippon Foundation Project. We all came from different backgrounds.
My background was mostly research and academia. They were navy captains and commanders. I still talk to the guys nearly every week or every second week. We
still see what we are doing who is in a vessel, who is in Antarctic,
who is in the Amazon. I have friends, I have a community around the country, around the globe. So if I have a question or I have a problem, I just call them. I think it’s not that we
gain knowledge only from the program itself, We gain knowledge from the experience,
and from the students. That way we leverage more knowledge from this program. The capacity building program that’s driven by the Nippon Foundation has really utilized the passion of students from across the world to work together. In every class, we’ve had people from nations who are probably politically not very stable or very close working together. There’s nothing better than when you go to a meeting and you see everybody sitting together at the table. And that
passion that’s kind of circumed international boundaries, and people are working with
science and not thinking about politics and that’s really cool. It’s very important that people who live in ocean areas have got some training and some skills, but also some connection to others. Because you know a small country can’t have a lot of resources, but if they’ve been to a program
and they know people from United States and France and Germany then they can do things together. By joining the program I started to make a relationship with people from GEBCO, so that I hope I can enlarge my networking. And that will be very useful for my career as well, and also for my university, my organization, and my
country, Indonesia. It’s like a continuation of your training. The network is a continuation – you graduate but you still talk to everybody you know and you still practice it with the people you know. I’ve been really impressed by the
group of GEBCO scholars. Their enthusiasm, their passion, their engagement. They are the future. One fantastic thing that has happened with the GEBCO Scholar Program and GEBCO is that we reached out to so many different parts of the world. It’s so much broader than it used to be. It’s very hard to go to a country, they don’t know you, and knock on the door and say can I have your data please. That isn’t going to happen. But if you have somebody in the Navy, in the government, who is part of the program, they have more weight to say that. They can walk up to their Director or their supervisor and say this is a good course, this is the
mission of GEBCO, could you help complete the map? All these scholars that we brought into the GEBCO community, many of them will take a prominent role. We can already see that and that means that we can pass the ocean mapping passion and knowledge forward. I am the first GEBCO Scholar to be appointed on the GEBCO Guiding Committee. It’s one of the best moments in my life. The GEBCO Scholars can see that
this is where you can go, right? So we need role models at all levels. This isn’t just a great program to go through for a couple years, but this is what it can lead to, and this is the impact you can make with GEBCO and in the world by participating in these GEBCO projects. A lot of them go home with knowledge, but they go home with a passion for what they know, and for the group they’re working with. And so that passion’s going not only from them but to their students, to their colleagues, and I think that’s really really good.