High Seas Symposium

Each spring, the Ocean Policy Working Group hosts a symposium. See information about past symposia here. 

This spring, on March 29th, OPWG is hosting a symposium all about the high seas. There will be lightning talks on issues threatening the high seas like sea-bed mining and a panel discussion on the High Seas Treaty.

High Seas Symposium

Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment, Grainger Hall.  Field Auditorium
Simulcast on Zoom. Register for details.
Friday March 29, 2024.  2pm-5pm
Registration Link

Free to attend. All are welcome.

Lightning Talk Speakers

Juliette Lee

Juliette Lee is a recent graduate of the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment Master of  Environmental Management program. While at Duke she founded Oceans@Duke, was involved with Duke’s Ocean Policy Working Group, and a researcher in the Nowacek Bioacoustics and Engineering Lab. Juliette is now with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Office of Strategic Policy and International Affairs where she leads the international portfolios for environmental science, marine sound, and marine minerals.

Betta Menini

Betta Menini is a current PhD candidate at the Duke University Marine Lab. She focuses on maritime spatial planning, specifically related to deep-sea hydrothermal vents for the context of deep seabed mining. Betta hopes to inform policy decisions with the best available science and marine modeling. She works with the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab and has bene involved in developing the Regional Environmental Management Plans for the International Seabed Authority.

Dr. Elizabeth Kim

Dr. Elizabeth Kim is the Director of the Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Dr. Kim leads U.S foreign policy and global engagement in ocean, Arctic, and Antarctic environmental, economic, and security affairs. She has extensive experience in the international law of the sea and marine conservation negotiations. Dr. Kim was previously an environmental protection specialist at the US EPA managing marine pollution.


Gabby Carmine

Gabby Carmine is a current PhD student at the Duke University Marine Lab. She is a member of the marine Geospatial Ecology Lab and her research focuses on fisheries in the high seas, corporate powers, and ocean governance. She hopes to ensure protection of the high seas from corporate powers and increase accountability for the protection of marine biodiversity. Gabby worked with the Urban Ocean Lab and the Ocean Collective before starting her PhD program.

Dr. Pat Halpin

Dr. Pat Halpin is a Professor at the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment where he leads the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab. He is also involved with a number of international scientific and conservation programs including the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, the Global Oceans Biodiversity Initiative, the Marine Working Group for the Group on Earth Observations – Biodiversity Observing networks, and the Google Oceans Advisory Council.

Nichola Clark

Nichola Clark leads efforts at Pew Charitable Trusts related to The United Nations Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty (BBNJ) as part of the Trusts’ campaign to address gaps in ocean governance through international cooperation. She is also a co-lead for the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Commission on Protected Areas High Seas Specialist Group. She is a graduate of the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment Master of  Environmental Management program and a current PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong’s Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security.

John Virdin, moderator

John Virdin directs the Oceans Program at the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, aiming to connect Duke University’s science and ideas to help policymakers solve ocean sustainability problems. He has a total of over twenty years’ experience in studying and advising government policies to regulate human use of the oceans, particularly marine conservation policies to reduce poverty throughout the tropics. His focus has been largely on managing fisheries for food and livelihoods, expanding to broader ocean-based economic development policies, coastal adaptation and more recently reducing ocean plastic pollution.  Prior to coming to Duke in early 2015, he worked for 12 years at the World Bank, helping the organization increase its funding for ocean conservation and fisheries management.

Click on the poster to register.  Please also consider attending the Blue Economy Symposium (BES) earlier that same day.  Register here for BES