News Fellows Fellows 2023-24

Congratulations FTP fellows 25th cohort

15 May 2024
Congratulations FTP fellows 25th cohort

Today our 25th cohort of fellows graduated from the six-month training programme, in a cheerful ceremony held at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute -- 25 fellows from 15 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Most of them were enrolled in the Fisheries Policy and Management line of specialisation (10); while five signed up for each of the other three lines, The Aquatic Resource Assessment and Monitoring line, The Sustainable Aquaculture line and The Quality Management line.

They have all worked extremely hard over the past few months exploring new ways forward for fisheries in their home countries. It has been an honour working with this extremely talented group of people. Congratulations FTP fellows 25th cohort.

Cheerful graduation ceremony

The graduation ceremony was officiated by the director of Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Mr. Þorsteinn Sigurðsson.

Director General, Directorate for International Development Cooperation, Ms. Elín R. Sigurðardóttir, congratulated the fellows and conveyed congratulations of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttur.

She also thanked the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute that has hosted the Fisheries training Programme for more than a quarter of a century for their dedication to the programme since 1997 and its excellent track record.

In her talk, Elín explained briefly the mission of GRÓ Center for Capacity Development, under which the Fisheries Training Programme operates – along with its three other sister programmes, i.e. the Geothermal Training Programme, the Land Restoration Programme and the Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme. They all play a vital role in Iceland’s development cooperation.

It was no coincidence, she said, that there was a fisheries training programme in Iceland. “We know the potential sustainable use of the fisheries resources holds for growth, prosperity and development … Through the Fisheries Training Programme we work with countries in their efforts of managing the resources in a sustainable manner.”

Discussing the need for fishing countries to work together and counter current threats such as global warming and pollution to marine and freshwater ecosystems, she pointed out that “you, the fellows of GRÓ-FTP, are an important link in this cooperation”.

In his address, Mr. Jón Karl Ólafsson, chairman of the GRÓ governing board, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work for the capacity development center. It is worth sharing Iceland´s example, he said, of how a harsh environment can be made a hospitable place by harnessing sustainably its resources. Jón Karl also expressed the hope that the graduating fellows maintain the professional relationships they have established during their time in Iceland, for example by participating in former fellows’ alumni networks.

During the presentation of certificates, Mr. Þór Heiðar Ásgeirsson, director of GRÓ-FTP, introduced each fellow and the topics of their research projects.

He concluded by reflecting on the long term impact of the programme. In this context, he point out that in some developing countries it is not so much lack of ambitious policy goals or even funds that holds back progress. Indeed, the main problem often seems to be the dearth of well-trained local specialists to actually do the necessary work. This is where a programme like ours can really make a difference.

Speaking on behalf of the graduating fellows, Mr. Eric T. S. Patten from Liberia, thanked the FTP staff, the supervisors, lecturers and others who contributed to the programme for their assistance throughout the training period.

He summarised some of the challenges the fellows had to overcome in Iceland and pointed out that “despite our different backgrounds and culture, we were able to strike a bond, encourage and cooperate with each other during our stay here. The team we built and the skills we applied to work together can be harnessed for the best in our respective countries. All I can say to you is that the future looks bright, and it is ours to achieve.”

Concluding the ceremony Þorsteinn thanked the graduating fellows for their stay at Hafró and wished them a safe journey back home.

Afterwards, a reception for guests was held at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, where a poster exhibition of the final projects of the fellows had been set up.

This year’s graduates brings the total number of FTP alumni up to 489.

This article was originally published on May 15th; then updated and expanded on May 18th.