The International Pacific Marine Educators Network (IPMEN) is a developing collective of marine educators throughout the Pacific. The idea for this group began as one of the outcomes of a two-day meeting, the One Ocean Marine Forum (OOMF) on the Hawaiian island of Maui in July 2005. IPMEN website is at http://www.ipmen.net

The aim of the Forum was to create a global network of marine educators to share knowledge, expertise and resources to solve ocean related environmental issues. It was decided to further the Forum goal by first forming a network of Pacific marine educators as a pilot. The International Pacific Marine Educators Conference (IPMEC) was held in 2007 in Honolulu, Hawaii, and resulted in the formation of IPMEN.

•IPMEC brought together 100 educators from 18 Pacific nations and territories and resulted in the formation of IPMEN

•The first formal IPMEN conference then took place in Townsville, Australia, in October 2008. As with the earlier conference in Hawaii, IPMEN ’08 brought together 100 educators from a range of Pacific nations and territories and resulted in the continued development of this Pacific-wide network. IPMEN ’08 in Townsville was also held in parallel with the second International Youth Coastal Conference (IYCC). With 300 young delegates attending the 2008 IYCC in Townsville and sharing key components of IPMEN 2008 we were able to the successfully address the IPMEN 2008 conference theme “Sustaining the Pacific: Learning from Elders, Listening to Youth”.

•Most recently, 80 IPMEN delegates met in Fiji in July 2010. The conference theme for IPMEN 2010 was “Vakarau ni se siga toka – Marine education in the new millennium”. Vakarau ni se siga toka is something Fijian elders used to say (and still do today, but rarely), which translated means “Start preparing while we’ve still got daylight.”

•Plans are now well in place for IPMEN 2012 in Chile and we are aiming to meet again in Japan in 2014.

The presentations from all three previous conferences are available as web-based streaming video at the College of Exploration website www.coexploration.com/ipmen. If you are new to the College of Exploration Online Campus you simply need to follow the prompts at this site to register (no cost involved). In doing so you create a new user id and password that will provide full access to the Online Campus.

Because of the vast distances involved in networking across the Pacific, IPMEN remains a fairly informal network with two key components. Firstly, we aim to meet (both in person and virtually) for a biennial conference as described above. The second component of IPMEN is the informal web-based networking that has developed as a result of the face-to-face (and virtual) meetings at these conferences. Those belonging to the network communicate both through the IPMEN Facebook site and the IPMEN Google group.