A day in the life (not) at GPS: Attending the U.N. Ocean Conference

Learning isn't limited to the classroom at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) — or even to San Diego, for that matter. See how, as a student at the School, Christine Pereira '17 attended the inaugural U.N. Ocean Conference, held June 5-7, 2017 in New York City.


  1. June 4 proved a different Sunday than most for Christine Pereira, then a 2017 MIA candidate at GPS. Instead of finding a quiet spot to study for her upcoming school week on the West Coast, she hopped on a plane to the East Coast…
  2. … and found herself in front of a much bigger skyline: New York City, where she was to attend the inaugural U.N. Ocean Conference as part of a UC San Diego delegation comprising fellow students and researchers.

    The first-of-it-kind event convened high-level policymakers, researchers and delegates in an effort to draw support for the implementation of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14).
  3. Before the formal kickoff to the conference, however, Pereira waded over to Governors Island for more casual festivities occurring at the World Ocean's Festival.
  4. In addition to running into costumed ocean advocates, Pereira also made good on taking a selfie with the festival’s keynote speaker, Sylvia Earle, a famous oceanographer and ocean conservation advocate.
  5. Thereafter, it was time to retreat back to her hotel to rest up for the day ahead.
  6. Rising bright and early to be among the first at the conference, Pereira dipped into one of New York’s several eateries for a pick-me-up during her commute.
  7. Then, with badge in hand and flags flying overhead, Pereira had arrived at the U.N. headquarters.
  8. At the UN headquarters
    At the UN headquarters
  9. Once inside the nerve center, she discovered the conference was bustling with representatives from other countries, private organizations, states, provinces and universities. With career goals at the intersection of policy and oceanography, Pereira set out to network with and learn from them firsthand about the realities of making commitments to enhance ocean sustainability.
  10. As such, she took part in a range of panel discussions and a press conferences, traversing topics such as making fisheries sustainable, transnational organized crime in fishery industries, and what it takes to co-design game-changing ocean solutions for sustainable development.
  11. In between the dialogues, Pereira also made time to explore new technologies and other interactive displays.
  12. And collected plenty of swag …
  13. Plus, as one never to forego a photo opportunity, Pereira snagged selfies with policymakers like Heraldo Muñoz Valenzuela, Chile’s minister of foreign affairs.
  14. Sticking to a tight itinerary and with much to learn, Pereira swung into more sessions the remainder of the conference, including attending side events hosted by the governments of Seychelles, Palau, Grenada, Italy, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Netherlands and French Polynesia, to name a few.

    In addition, with UC San Diego comrades from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, she also attended a plenary session of the U.N. General Assembly.