Student Workshops on International Marine and Coastal Management (SWIMM)
Workshops empower students to develop innovative, integrative, and sustainable solutions to common environmental challenges.
The Gulf of Mexico Student Workshop on International Marine and Coastal Management (SWIMM) was developed in 2010 by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and supported through the Furgason Fellowship fund. Created as a series, workshops focus on addressing priority coastal and marine management issues in the Gulf of Mexico Region. The initiative brings together 18 graduate students from Mexico, Cuba, and the United States for peer-to-peer exchanges, shared learning, and intensive interactions with scientists, managers, and practitioners. Locations of the workshops rotate every two years between the three hosting countries, exposing participants to conservation issues, on-site educational activities, and the local realities of policy implementation. The next six workshops are anticipated to take place in Cuba (2018, 2019), Mexico (2020, 2021), and the US (2022, 2023).
Graduate students from Cuba, Mexico, and the US have traditionally found it very difficult to study in other Gulf nations’ universities. They face a variety of obstacles that range from economic restrictions to visa policies. Long-standing political tensions between the U.S. and Cuba make bilateral academic exchanges especially challenging. To secure equal participation, relevance, and continuity, HRI actively works with other organizations such as Universidad de La Habana (UH), Ecosur (CONACYT), and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Because of its history of conducting research in Cuba and Mexico, HRI is placed in a privileged position to further consolidate international scientific and education efforts.
Students and young scientists will be tomorrow’s Gulf leaders, advocates, and educators. At HRI we believe that the success of long-term restoration, conservation, and climate adaptation responses lies in building an integrated community of practitioners and researchers that works across scientific and political boundaries. The Gulf of Mexico Student Workshop is an initial platform to develop interconnections and synergies, and to catalyze a transfer of knowledge and experiences that will lead to lasting collaborations.