The Yale Oceans SDG Alliance meets with Ambassador Beck in New York. From left to right, Teaching Fellows Rob Fetter and Lia Nicholson, Amb. Beck, and team members Mariah Gill and Connie Vogelmann.

Oceans Angels: Building Coalitions Over Lox and Bagels

While there are a lot of good things that can come out of a lox and bagels brunch, international politics wouldn’t be one that immediately comes to mind. It turns out that brunch, complete with quiche and mimosas, provides a delightful canvas for some excellent alliance-making. A recent brunch in New York, hosted by Ambassador Stuart Beck of Palau, ended up being one of those occasions.

When our group, Yale’s Oceans Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Alliance, arrived, we were greeted by Ambassador Beck, the undeniable star of the show. Some of the players were already there, including Palau’s newest ambassador, Caleb Otto. Otto has a background in health and social services in Palau and he hopes to combat non-communicable diseases in Palau. Our team mingled, chatted with Palau’s United Nation Mission counselors and sipped coffee while waiting for the day’s biggest guest star, Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.

Without much ado, the president arrived, shaking hands and making his way towards the lox. He signaled the official start of the show with other key players arriving shortly afterward.

Other attendees included Ambassador Robert Guba Aisi, Permanent Representative to the UN for Papua New Guinea, Tony A. deBrum, minister in assistance to the President of the Marshall Islands, and Yuvan Beejadhur, senior partnership specialist at the World Bank.

During the session, we learned exceptional lessons in coalition capacity-building when Ambassador Beck brainstormed with deBrum and Aisi about the campaign for an ocean-centered Sustainable Development Goal. Another highlight was the emergence of a collaborative partnership between the World Bank’s Yuvan Beejadhur and our Oceans Alliance. Beejadhur, originally from the small island nation of the Republic of Mauritius, agreed to work with our team in shaping practical, measurable indicators for each of the Oceans SDG’s targets. Our team looks forward to working with Beejadhur and each of the Ocean Alliance’s advocates in the coming months as we embark on a journey of research, writing, and campaigning.

Our team, invigorated by the diplomatic prowess of Ambassador Beck, has since plunged into the literature surrounding destructive and illegal fishing as well as the myriad of research concerning fishery sustainable yields.

Until we next surface… bon voyage!

(In the photo above, Teaching Fellows Rob Fetter, left, and Lia Nicholson, Ambassador Beck, and team members Mariah Gill and Connie Vogelmann.)