Silja Klepp new Co-Chair of the UNESCO Chair for Integrated Marine Science

Researchers seek to enhance knowledge transfer and training from social and natural science perspectives in Cabo Verde

The human geographer Silja Klepp, Professor at Kiel University (CAU) and member of the Kiel Marine Science (KMS) research focus area, is the new co-Chair of the UNESCO Chair for Integrated Marine Science. This appointment was announced by the United Nations Education Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO) at the beginning of the year.

Silja Klepp succeeds Dr. Jörn Schmidt, who has accepted a new role with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) in Copenhagen, and shares the position until 2025 with Arne Körtzinger, Professor at Kiel University and marine chemist at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. This tandem format is unique among the UNESCO Chairs in Germany.

“My ambition is to bring the perspectives of social sciences and the aspect of environmental justice into this interdisciplinary Chair”, said Silja Klepp. The study area for the two researchers’ activities remains Cabo Verde, where GEOMAR operates an international research station with the Ocean Science Centre Mindelo (OCSM) on the island of São Vicente. A key pillar of the UNESCO Chair is the training of students from the West African region, traditionally also carried out with researchers from Kiel University, along with the expansion of international research cooperation.

“I look forward to developing and discussing cultural, social, and political perspectives on local environmental conflicts with students and researchers”, emphasised the human geographer, “and to focus on questions of a postcolonial partnership in education”.

Initial concrete measures include travelling to Cabo Verde together with Arne Körtzinger to meet with local stakeholders, plan and establish an international summer school, and to expand university teaching in the BMBF-funded programme WASCAL (West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use).

There has been a UNESCO Chair in Marine Science at Kiel University since 1997. The international organisation allocates 14 to Germany, with the goal of improving international relationships and promoting young scientists in so-called newly industrialised and developing countries. A detailed article on the UNESCO Chair will be published in the university newspaper unizeit in April.

Text: Tobias Hahn

© Barbara Dombrowski

Human geographer Professor Silja Klepp (Kiel University) has shared the UNESCO Chair for Integrated Marine Science in tandem with Professor Arne Körtzinger (GEOMAR/Kiel University) since January 2022. She researches the social and political consequences of climate change and environmental changes.

About Kiel Marine Science

Kiel Marine Science (KMS), the Center for interdisciplinary marine science at Kiel University, is devoted to excellent and responsible ocean research at the interface between humans and the ocean. The researchers combine their expertise from various natural and social science disciplines to investigate the risks and opportunities that the sea provides for humans. The success of Kiel Marine Science is based on close interdisciplinary cooperation in research and teaching between researchers from seven faculties at Kiel University. Together with actors from outside the scientific community, they work globally and transdisciplinarily on solutions for sustainable use and protection of the ocean.

To the Kiel Mariene Science website

Friederike Balzereit
Science Communication Kiel Marine Science (KMS), CAU