BES horizontal logo 2023

Blue Economy Summit Agenda

March 3 and 4th, 2023

Friday - March 3rd

6:00 - 6:30pm

Cocktail Hour

Please join us for light refreshments and drinks while chatting with experts, stakeholders, and all interested in a blue economy. 

6:40 - 6:55pm

Opening Remarks

A welcome to the Blue Economy Summit kick-off event by our conference chair, Natalie Dixon, with additional remarks by Douglas Nowcek

7:00 - 7:15pm

Keynote Address, Reece Pacheco

Reece PachecoPropeller

Reece is a Partner at Propeller where he focuses on investing in and supporting ocean entrepreneurs at the earliest stages of their ventures.

Reece has also been an active angel investor at the ocean-climate nexus, where he leverages his professional experience as a startup veteran and ocean conservation leader. Previously he held a dual role as SVP Ocean Responsibility at the World Surf League and Executive Director of WSL PURE (the WSL’s 501(c)(3)). In these roles Reece, reduced the WSL’s emissions by 25% from baseline and offset the remainder (Scope 1-3) with a verified portfolio of 100% nature-based solutions. Reece also led global conservation campaigns in partnership with premier NGOs and global brands activating millions of fans around the world in ocean conservation.

Prior to the WSL, Reece spent a year abroad researching and volunteering in conservation efforts around marine plastic pollution, coastal conservation, and re-wilding efforts. He’s a 2x cofounder/CEO of two video startups (B2B SaaS and consumer facing), wherein he led his teams on vision, strategy, fundraising and product. Reece has extensive ocean conservation experience and knowledge from the field to the board room. He was born and raised on Cape Cod and is an active waterman.


7:15 - 7:30pm

Keynote Address, Mathilda D'silva

Mathilda D’silva, Ocean Purpose Project

Ocean Purpose Project is a proudly Pasir Ris based social enterprise founded by Mathilda D’Silva in 2020. Known as a Singapore Idol singer, actress, comedian and performer, Mathilda worked as a broadcast and print journalist for over a decade before moving into social media community management and sustainability advocacy. She is a certified Community Management coach and specialist, training different sectors in online and offline community mobilisation techniques. Known as a dragonboat newbies coach, Mathilda’s love for promoting water sports has spanned over a decade.

After a water pollution incident left Mathilda with intense autoimmune conditions, she decided to channel her energy into creating a platform for unique projects that could solve the same ocean pollution issues that made her sick. A vision of creating “ocean purpose projects” for the world was born.

7:30 - 10:00pm

Reception and Oceans Innovations Showcase

Join the Oceans@Duke Student Cabinet and entrepreneurs in the blue tech space in exploring emerging innovations to accelerate the sustainable ocean economy at this kickoff event. Speakers, sponsors, and participants will have a chance to mingle in this networking event. A selection of craft and domestic beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres will be served.


Click below to learn more about our Oceans Innovation Participants! 

Saturday - March 4th

8:45 - 9:30am


Please arrive on time to collect your badge prior to the commencement of the event.

9:30 - 9:35am

Opening Remarks

A welcome to the second annual Blue Economy Summit by the Oceans@Duke President, Sandunie Liyanagamage

9:35 - 10:05am

Keynote, Asia Williams

Asia Williams works with the Waitt Institute as their Blue Economy Manager; looking at how to help nations sustainably develop and diversify their economies, whilst also establishing Marine Protection. Prior to this, Asia was the Blue Economy Consultant at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Caribbean, supporting regional BE entrepreneurs scale their business and access finance. Asia has also worked on partnership projects with IDB looking at tourism resilience, UN-Habitat on waste management and flood risk, Arcadis Natural and Built Asset Consultancy and the Commonwealth Climate Change Network.

9:35 - 10:05am

T.I.D.E. Talk I, Angelique Pouponneau

Angelique Pouponneau is a PhD candidate at the University of Malta & Advisor to the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Angelique is a lawyer and she holds an LLM in Environmental law specializing in the law of the sea and natural resources law. Angelique serves as advisor to the Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States on ocean and climate matters. She previously she served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust. She is currently also, pursuing a PhD in regulatory reforms to advance the blue economy. The New African Magazine recognized her as one of the 100 most influential Africans in 2021.

10:30 - 11:40am

Panel I: Enhancing Equity Across the Fisheries Sector

Melissa Cronin
Smith Conservation Research Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke University

Michael Hofmann
Director of Innovation and Finance at Rare

Paul Adjin-Tettey
Principal Fisheries Research Assistant at the
Fisheries Commission for the Republic of Ghana

11:40am - 1:00pm

Lunch and Networking Hour

Lunch will be provided. Networking Hour Organization Fair runs 12:00-1:00pm.

1:00 - 1:15pm

T.I.D.E. Talk II, Phanor Montoya

Phanor H Montoya Maya is a restoration program manager at the Coral Restoration Foundation and the Former Executive Director at Corales de Paz. Phanor is a Marine Biologist (PhD) with over 20 years’ experience working on marine tropical and subtropical ecosystems (i.e. seagrass beds, estuaries, and coral reefs). Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (CERP) with 8 years’ experience developing and implementing monitoring procedures to assess the effectiveness of coral reef restoration actions. 5 years’ experience establishing, training, and managing multidisciplinary and multicultural teams for coral reef monitoring and restoration.

1:20 - 2:20pm

Panel II: Cases of Coastal Resilience and Managed Retreat

Lydia Olander, 
Program Director and Adjunct Professor at the Nicholas Institute

2:20 - 2:40pm

Short Break

2:40 - 2:55pm

T.I.D.E Talk III, Josheena Naggea

Josheena Naggea is a Hoffmann Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions and World Economic Forum. Josheena is an interdisciplinary researcher and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, and the World Economic Forum. She holds a Ph.D in Environment and Resources from Stanford University. Her current research focuses on centering equity for ocean innovations in small-scale fisheries and aquaculture. Born and raised in Mauritius, Josheena spent the early parts of her career conducting community-engaged research focused on climate change adaptation, disaster impacts and recovery, marine protected area management, and the inclusion of natural and cultural heritage in marine governance. Having recently worked on assessing the compounding social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Wakashio oil spill disaster on coastal communities in her home country, Josheena plans to continue applied research and contribute to the science-policy-business nexus.

3:00 - 4:10pm

Panel III: Rethinking Sustainable Tourism

4:15 - 4:30pm

Concluding Remarks

A final wrap up to the 2023 Blue Economy Summit provided by Nicholas School professor and Oceans@Duke advisor, John Virdin.

Register below for BES 2023!

Duke Oceans logo horizontal