URI alumna, renowned marine conservationist to lecture as part of Marine Affairs 50th anniversary

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Tundi Agardy
Tundi Agardy. Photo courtesy of Tundi Agardy

KINGSTON, R.I. — November 25, 2019 — Internationally renowned marine conservationist and URI alumna Tundi Agardy will discuss the importance of conservation in relation to the “blue economy” next week as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the University of Rhode Island Department of Marine Affairs. She is the founder and executive director of Sound Seas, an organization based in Washington, D.C., focused on the conservation of marine life through marine science and policy.

Agardy is the last speaker in the URI Department of Marine Affairs Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series. Each of this year’s speakers have been URI alumni. Her lecture, “Harnessing Conservation to get the Blue Economy right,” will begin at noon, Wednesday, Dec. 4, and will take place in the Weaver Auditorium of the Coastal Institute, 1 Greenhouse Road, on the Kingston Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Over the course of her career, Agardy has amassed extensive field and policy experience in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, North America and the Pacific. Prior to founding Sound Seas, she was at Forest Trends, a non-profit concerned with maintaining ecosystems through economic tools and incentives, where she developed the MARES Program, which focused on identifying marine values and protecting marine ecosystem services through market-based mechanisms.

Agardy’s specialties include coastal planning and assessment, marine protected areas, fisheries management, marine spatial planning, and ocean zoning, and she has published widely in these fields. She previously served as senior scientist for the World Wildlife Fund and began Conservation International’s Global Marine Program, which she oversaw as senior director. She also led the coastal portion of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a three-year global analysis released in 2005 that represented the consensus of more than a thousand scientists on the state of the world’s ecosystems.

In addition to earning both her master’s degree in Marine Affairs and her doctorate in biological sciences from the University of Rhode Island, Agardy was a postdoctoral fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She completed her undergraduate work at Wellesley and Dartmouth Colleges.

URI was the first academic institution worldwide to establish a graduate program in ocean and coastal policy, management, and law in 1969. Initially a one-year program designed specifically for individuals who already had an advanced degree or five years of experience in marine related fields, the Master’s in Marine Affairs program was expanded to include a two-year program in 1977 for those who did not already carry an advanced degree or the requisite experience. In the 1980s, an undergraduate program was created, followed by a doctoral program in the late 1990s.

The mission of the Department of Marine Affairs has always been to advance research on and provide leadership for the management of complex coastal and marine environments worldwide. Its graduates come from across the United States and more than 40 countries and work in government service, non-governmental organizations, industry, and academia.

For more on the Department of Marine Affairs Lecture Series, visit web.uri.edu/maf.

Lauren Poirier, an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at URI and public relations and English major, wrote this press release.