Youth are at the core of Sustainable Ocean Alliance’s mission, values, impact—and history.
SOA was founded by Daniela V. Fernandez at age 19 from her college dorm room at Georgetown University to elevate youth voices in the ocean space and to bring ocean innovation to life.
Since then, SOA has become the world’s largest network of young ocean leaders, entrepreneurs, and solutionists in over 165 countries. Today, we enable and mobilize over 6,000 youth globally with a shared vision for the future of our ocean. Action is still required across all generations to ensure youth are supported with the opportunities and knowledge they need to thrive.
This International Youth Day (August 12), we are highlighting seven incredible ocean changemakers that have created a lasting impact for present and future young ocean leaders. These SOA Regional Representatives are located all around the globe, each making a monumental difference one wave at a time for their communities and for the ocean as a whole.
Khadija is an enthusiastic climate specialist with a passion for inspiring behavior change through knowledge sharing and innovative storytelling. She holds a BSc in Environmental and Natural Resource Management, a MSc in Sustainable Development with Management Studies and a second MSc in Climate Change and Development from the University of London.
Throughout her environmental journey, Khadija has represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 8th World Water Forum with the World Youth Parliament for Water in 2018, at the Peace Boat Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassador Program in 2019, at the Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit in Oslo, and at the UN Ocean Conference with Sustainable Ocean Alliance in 2022.
Her environmental advocacy journey started in 2017. she is the founder of Ecovybz Environmental Creatives – a company focused on educating the public through environmental content creation and powerful storytelling initiatives focused on Climate Change, Ocean Conservation, and Water Resources.
Khadija has lent her voice and stories to several initiatives worldwide with Peace Boat, Global Water Partnership, UNESCO Caribbean, and UNDESA all focused on Sustainable Development Goals 6, 13, and 14. Her biggest project to date is the Caribbean Ocean Perspective Initiative and at the core of her work is the youth and equipping them with the knowledge to be effective agents of change. She is also the host of the EcoVybz Podcast.
Daniel Cáceres Bartra is Hispanoamerica representative of Sustainable Ocean ALLIANCE (SOA) , marine biologist, PADI Dive Instructor, Studying a masters in ocean Science in UPCH.
In 2015 he founded the biggest ocean collective group in the country, “Cuidando el mar,” and in 2017 Daniel founded SOA Perú as the first SOA international hub. SOA Perú is currently the largest network of young ocean leaders in Perú, with chapters in every coastal department of the country.
Daniel has also been an ocean adviser for presidential candidate Veronika Mendoza, and currently is trusted personnel for the Peruvian Congress. Along with Congressman Ed Malaga and the climate change commission, Daniel's team is currently proposing the first deep seabed mining moratorium bill in Latin America.
Daniel has been a youth delegate for Our Ocean 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, and has been part of the official Peruvian delegation for COP 22, 23, 25 and 26. In 2015 he was the youngest divemaster in the country!
Eugénia Barroca is a consultant for Sustainable Ocean Alliance, the SOA Lusofonia and Europe Regional Representative, and the Co-founder of SOA Ocean Hub Portugal. She is also an Ambassador of the Blue School Program.
Between 2019 and 2020 she was an Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador of Portugal for AANChOR. In 2021, Eugénia did a scientific consultancy for Mocho Coxo, producing a documentary series, Urban Rivers, about 12 estuaries in Portugal.
Over the past ten years, she has played an active role in several environmental volunteering projects, national and international organizations. Eugénia Barroca has a degree in Marine Biology from the University of Algarve.
Forbi Perise is a passionate youth leader and Circular Economy enthusiast. He holds a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Buea, Cameroon. He has led several youth groups and projects in his regions focused on climate change adaptation and ocean literacy.
Forbi’s passion for the environment started with a love of the natural world and evolved in an elaborate network of beliefs about the importance of environmental protection and of reversing the harm that we humans had done to the Earth.
He is popularly known as the “PLASTIC MAN" due to his efforts to raise awareness on the issue of plastic pollution. He acknowledges that youth can bring remarkable change to their community if they are given opportunity and can work together. His work has earned him several awards such as the Diana Award, the NAAEE 30UNDER30 AWARD , the Young eco Hero award and several others.
Komal is a recognized Youth Climate Activist focusing in the area of Climate Change since 2016. She has actively participated in many successful events, including COP23, COY13, Global Landscapes Forum 2019, UN Youth Climate Action Summit as a Green Ticket Recipient, COP25, and COY15.
She was also recently awarded the French Laurete Prize - the Simone Veil Awards in 2022 for her work and contribution to women leadership in climate change and is the first Pacific Islander to receive this prestigious award.
Komal has recently joined Sustainable Oceans Alliance as the Pacific Island Representative. The main objective of her role is to increase the presence of SOA in the Pacific and provide an engaging platform for youth from the Pacific to engage more effectively in the ocean space both regionally and internationally.
After graduating from Florida Southern College in May 2020, Mark Haver became a policy and communications consultant for a start-up government and public affairs firm for ocean and environmental clients. Simultaneously, he launched Sustainable Ocean Alliance's inaugural Youth Policy Advisory Council.
Mark has led youth engagement in national and international campaigns for ocean and climate issues, such as for the Global Blue New Deal – a youth-led, stakeholder-driven ocean and climate policy framework, and for a deep seabed mining moratorium.
He has launched his own environmental action consulting firm, BlueGreen Generation. His clients include Sustainable Ocean Alliance as their North American Regional Representative and Global Policy Advisor, a start-up renewable energy company for the Pacific Islands known as Mana Pacific as a Fundraising Coordinator, and Global Fashion Exchange as the founder and brand ambassador of Swap For Your Life to grow the sustainable fashion exchange movement in the global LGBTQ+ community.
Mary Jane Lamoste (MJ) is a marine biologist by training, social entrepreneur, an advocate of youth leadership, and the SOA Asia Representative. In her work as a marine biologist, she dedicated her time to conserving marine megafauna in the Philippines and volunteered for various non-profit organizations tackling marine conservation through research, community outreach, and education. She also worked with a team of international researchers studying the sustainability of the century-old Mobula rays fishery in the Bohol Sea. MJ went on to lead her own team to study the population of sea turtles and was involved in building the National Turtle Catalogue.
Through the YSEALI Program of President Obama, MJ was exposed to youth empowerment through the Save Philippine Seas, Sea, and Earth Advocates Camp in mobilizing communities and youth to take action. This also led her to represent the Philippines at the Environmental Issues Academic Fellowship program in East-West Center Hawaii exposing her to the intersection of environmental solutions that put the community at the center.
In 2020, Tagpi-Tagpi circular economy initiative was born to grow women-led businesses in the coastal Coral Triangle region, upcycling old clothes and denim into marine-themed plush toys with the idea of raising awareness of Life Below Water and ensuring we are giving life to fashion waste and empowering marginalized women in the coastal communities. Tagpi-Tagpi has been recognized as a Sustainable Ocean Alliance Rising Star Ocean Entrepreneur and #EarthOptimism Finalist hosted by the Smithsonian Conservation Commons and East-West Center recognizing the efforts to make a positive difference to the environment.
Through SOA Asia, MJ continues to support young ocean leaders nationally and internationally to lead and support actions that champion marine and environmental education. Her role engages youth leaders in supporting impact-driven solutions and initiatives toward the ocean, building a platform where ocean leaders can engage with each other and get support for their respective local initiatives.
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