The Black Sea Young Ambassador (BSYA) Programme was developed to unite youth for the future of the Black Sea, for a healthy, resilient, and sustainable Black Sea, in September 2020, under the Black Sea CONNECT CSA. Black Sea Young Ambassadors are young early career ocean professionals who come from different backgrounds in marine and maritime research, industry, policy, and civil society, and either in educational programmes or in the early stages of their carrier.
Black Sea Young Ambassadors both play an important role in advocating for Blue Economy in the Black Sea and promote the goals of the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (Black Sea SRIA). The engagement of the Young Ambassadors enhances the visibility and actions of the Blue Growth Initiative in the Black Sea, will increase the countries’ potential, and spread the output of projects and activities related to the Blue Growth Initiative in the region. The BSYA has brought a novel dynamic to the Black Sea CONNECT CSA, especially in terms of visibility and dissemination efforts.
In the Black Sea Day dedicated event, on 30 October 2020, the Black Sea Young Ambassadors Programme was officially launched by the European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. At the event, Commissioner Gabriel shared new plans for increasing support for youth, education, and science.
The first cohort, regularly met online, discussed their national and regional needs and priorities under the umbrella of SRIA with their national mentors, fellow young ambassadors, and Black Sea CONNECT Consortium as well as these, they have also received training on the fundamentals of sustainable blue economy, Black Sea SRIA, science communication.
They also had the opportunity to share their vision and goals on these missing links and re-connecting them with Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth at Research and Innovation in the Black Sea event on October 30, 2020. Since the beginning, the Black Sea Young Ambassadors carried out various activities and represented Black Sea Youth on different platforms (see here).
Considering the success of the programme, the BSYA has been linked with the EU H2020 BRIDGE-BS project not only increasing the impact of the program and its visibility but also ensuring its sustainability. Together with BRIDGE-BS, not only the foundations of the BSYAs’ work and efforts but also the bridge they have created between society and science will be getting stronger and broader in scope.
Young ambassadors regularly meet with their national mentors (Steering Committee members of Black Sea CONNECT and BRIDGE-BS). During the lifetime of the programme, young ambassadors will collaborate with experienced mentors in the relevant countries around the Black Sea, to promote mutual understanding, increase leadership skills, and prepare youth to make a difference in their communities.
Black Sea Young Ambassadors attend Black Sea SRIA National Meetings as a future of the Black Sea. They have a chance to raise their voices for their research and innovation and give their contribution to what should be the national priories for the sustainable and better-valued Black Sea.
Black Sea Young Ambassadors participate in orientation meetings organised with the coordination of Black Sea CONNECT and BRIDGE-BS Coordination Teams. In this very first meeting, they break the ice with other Black Sea Ambassadors, they share “what connects them to the Black Sea” and start to develop their vision and goals based on this connection and the needs and opportunities of the Black Sea. The aim of the training is to inform on the fundamentals of sustainable blue economy, Black Sea SRIA, and science communication.
The programme was launched at the Black Sea Day dedicated to “The Blue Growth Initiative for Research and Innovation in the Black Sea” event organized on 29-30 October 2020. On the second day, 30 October, the Black Sea Young Ambassadors Programme was officially launched by European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. At the event, Commissioner Gabriel shared new plans for increasing support for youth, education, and science.
For the second cohort, there will be another launch event.
Training and workshops are organized to develop the necessary skills for their national/online activities to make a change in their regions and countries and beyond, share Black Sea and sustainable blue economy-related projects to give an idea for their future awareness campaigns and engage with political, social, economic and scientific leaders.
Monthly meetings with young ambassadors. At each meeting, one inspirational speech has been given by experts to get by research have been conducted in the Black Sea, science communication, and more, and have a chance to discuss how these speeches can direction to their activities.
One of the main activities of Black Sea Young Ambassadors is to develop awareness-raising campaigns and drive change in their own communities. This workshop is aimed to equip Black Sea Young Ambassadors both theoretically and practically to create an awareness-raising campaign. There will be a discussion on how to create impact by raising awareness by developing a logical framework to design and drive BSYAs own campaigns.
Young Ambassadors represent Black Sea Youth in different events / on different platforms such as EU Research and Innovation Days, Mission EU Mission: Restore our Ocean and Waters related events, UN Ocean Decade events, and sustainable blue economy-related events at local, regional, and global levels.