HOUSTON, Texas — As the Gulf of Mexico is moving forward from one of history’s greatest environmental disasters, the Deepwater Horizon blowout, and oil spill. The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is bringing together international Gulf leaders on March 26-28 to look to its future for its fourth State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit in Houston, Texas.

Over the next 15 years, the Gulf of Mexico will be the focal point for one of the largest restoration efforts ever conceived. More than $20 billion in funding from the spill fines will provide an unparalleled opportunity to effect positive change on a Gulf-wide scale. But to move forward, we must move together. The State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit brings leaders from research, government, and industry from all three Gulf nations — the U.S., Cuba, and Mexico — together to discuss and strategize science-driven solutions for the Gulf’s problems.

The Summit panel discussions will take an interdisciplinary approach to Gulf of Mexico health and conservation, and features speakers on economics, human health, policy, and science.

Featured Speakers:

Monday, March 27:

12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dr. Rita Colwell
, Chair of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Research Board, Distinguished Professor University of Maryland College Park, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and former National Science Foundation Director. She will introduce One Health as a unifying approach to Gulf restoration in her talk, “OneHealth OneGulf — Linking Humans and Ecosystems.”

6:30-8:30 p.m.
Dr. Richard Feinberg
, Professor of International Political Economy at the Graduate School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California, San Diego, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a world-renowned expert on Latin America and author of “Open for Business: Building the New Cuban Economy.” He will discuss efforts to balance conservation and tourism in the new Cuban economy during his talk, “Cuba, Tourism and Conservation Science – The Challenge of Balance.”

Tuesday, March 28

12:15-1:15 p.m.
Dr. Porfirio Alvarez
, Secretary General of the Consorcio de Instituciones de Investigación Marina del Gulfo de México y del Caribe (CiiMAR-GoMC) and Dr. Christopher D’Elia, Dean of Louisiana State University’s College of the Coast and Environment and Chair of the Gulf of Mexico University Research Collaborative (GOMURC). They will discuss the role of international partnerships in better understanding and managing the Gulf in his talk, “Challenges to an Ecologically and Economically Sustainable Gulf of Mexico.”

Other Summit panel topics include exploring the links between human and ecosystem health; communicating science; improving restoration effectiveness through science-based monitoring; linking science, policy and action; and a discussion of how the Gulf will move forward over the next 15 years. Click here to view a full agenda. Two additional Gulf-themed meetings will convene immediately following the State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit on March 29-30: the Gulf of Mexico Alliance All-Hands Meeting and the Gulf of Mexico Workshop on International Research.

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is a partnership network led by the five Gulf States with a mission to collaboratively enhance the ecological and economic health of the region. Partners address six priority issues: Water Resources, Habitat Resources, Community Resilience, Data & Monitoring, Wildlife & Fisheries, and Education & Engagement. All Hands is the group’s annual working meeting, and participants will make progress on prioritized objectives from the “Governors’ Action Plan III.” Each of the six Teams and three additional initiatives have agendas posted on the Alliance’s website.

The Workshop on International Research is an invitation-only gathering of over 150 researchers from the U.S., Mexico and Cuba organized by HRI, The National Academy of Sciences, the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This diverse group of stakeholders will meet to identify knowledge gaps in marine ecosystem science from coastal communities to the deep ocean; prioritize relevant research needs across disciplines; and establish working relationships between international partners.

Featured speakers and international experts from across the Gulf of Mexico are available for interviews on site upon request. To RSVP or for more information, contact Nikki Buskey at nikki.buskey@tamucc.edu or 361-443-8936.