Challenging under-representation and being an agent of change
Updated: Feb 20
Raqueline Monteiro, All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador from Brazil.
Our 27th episode is the third in our short series where we meet young people from around the Atlantic basin to listen to their messages as All-Atlantic Youth Ambassadors. As we have seen in the previous two episodes, this programme was launched in 2019 under the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance and brings together and empowers young ocean professionals as they promote sustainable development and stewardship of the Atlantic Ocean, to give them a voice within their communities and beyond.
Our conversation takes us across the Atlantic, in Brazil where we meet with Raqueline Monteiro, who is one of the ocean ambassadors. Raqueline has her eyes set on a professional path that will change the path of her life, she was brought up in underprivileged conditions and decided that oceanography was her way out. She enrolled to study at university, and searched for all the opportunities she could get involved in to make sure her dream would come true. After many efforts, she is now finishing her doctorate, being the first of her family to have been to university.
Raqueline tells us about her experience of growing up in Amazonia, in one of the communities that lives on the verges of the Amazonia river. For her, we need to listen to those communities as they hold so much of the knowledge, and she feels that she can be a representative of those communities, bringing that knowledge into the ocean sciences. The youth ambassador programme is an initiative that helps to make different people, from different backgrounds and regions, visible, and that can inspire the younger generations to follow in their footsteps.
For Raqueline, it is crucial to invest and provide opportunities to people in those regions where many social inequalities exist, so that they can access education and a way into scientific careers. People have to be at the centre of all the solutions we think about, as they have different needs, different experiences and different ideas for solving issues.
Her vision for the future, and how we can support the ocean, is centred around 4 points: 1) youth engagement, because we need to involve the citizens of the future; 2) financial resources, to develop new technologies, to invest in education and in people from different parts of the world; 3) inclusion of traditional knowledge, as an integral part of finding solutions and 4) bringing diversity to the main table, so that there is an equitable representation in and contribution to the solutions found.
Her message to everyone is that we are all agents of change, in all of the environments that we evolve in, we can all do something to make a difference, and it all starts with the basics. We should all become inspiration for our friends and families, and together be drivers of change.