In 2002, an agreement between the International Ocean Institute (IOI) and the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), through its Foundation (FUNPAR), was signed in order to host a new Operational Centre for the Region, named IOI-OC for the South Western Atlantic Ocean (SWAO).
The IOI-SWAO Centre was since hosted by the Centre for Marine Studies (CEM) of the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), Southern Brazil. Originally, a research institution, CEM is today a full university campus, dedicated also to research, education at undergraduate and graduate levels and extension actions. These broad activities are reflected at the IOI Centre, which has been deeply involved and associated with its host institution.
IOI-SWAO initiated its work at the beginning of the new century, by contributing to spreading IOI ideals at the local and regional levels, by supporting educational activities and by attracting young students and scientists to marine related issues. Soon after IOI-SWAO commenced activities, they were deeply involved in the Women, Youth and the Sea project, which was carried on by IOI as one of its flagship activities. Research in Ocean related scientific issues are also among the core activities carried on by the Centre.
Every year, on June 8, IOI-Brazil organizes the celebration of the World Ocean Day, which is also the Oceanographer Day in Brazil. Outreach works, education, research and extension as well as advocacy on marine related issues have been on the core of IOI Brazil activities from the beginning.
In 2015, following the new training programs to be supported by IOI, it was decided to host, from 2016 on, a new Training Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean. The aim is to organize Training Courses in the LAC region with the support of the IOI Centre in Costa Rica, being the first offered at the IOI SWAO Brazil Centre in 2016. The Training Courses are itinerant in Latin America and the Caribbean Region, offered yearly, with a balanced content focusing in Ocean Governance, Ocean Sciences and GeoEthics.
Waves of sadness. The year 2020 was not gentle with the world in general and with IOITCLAC in particular. In May 24, Prof. Dr. Carlos Roberto Soares, vice-director of the IOI Brazil Training Center and Team Leader since the beginning of our courses died unexpectedly. When the lights of this horrible year were fading away, Prof. Dr. Laura Segura Mena, the very young and cheerful Director of IOI-Costa Rica, passed away too. We will miss a lot their energy, intellectual capacity, professionalism and, over all, their special personalities, capable of brightening up any moment, whether during their lectures or field works, or during moments of socialization. All the lecturers and colleagues, and the participants of our TCs, regret these losses, first with condolences to their families, but also with the whole community that loses earth-bound idealists, excellent teachers, persons and friends. Let us remember both as happy as in the photo, taken near Cananeia, SP. Brazil, at the time the last Training Course was being presented. (photo courtesy of A. Gutiérrez)