2021 Winner

Asha de Vos

for her pioneering research and the creation of a world-class marine conservation research and education institution in Sri Lanka, in the face of long-standing bias to reserve such platforms for the global north


Dr. Asha de Vos is the founder and executive director of Oceanswell in Sri Lanka. As a marine biologist, ocean educator and pioneer of blue whale research within the Northern Indian Ocean, Dr. de Vos’ life work is to change the current marine conservation model, protect the unique population of blue whales and inspire the next generation of diverse ocean heroes from all corners of the globe.

New thinking, new actions

She founded and serves as executive director of Oceanswell, Sri Lanka’s first marine conservation research and education organisation and is a leading voice in increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in marine conservation. She believes, if we truly want to save our oceans, every coastline needs a local hero. The quality of her scientific work and impact of her advocacy are internationally recognized. In addition to her pioneering research, she hosts monthly public events like the Marine Conservation Conversations. In them, Dr. de Vos chooses a scientific article highlighting everything from sardine migration to marine slavery and then unpacks them, engaging the participation of a diverse audience. Learn more

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