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Mark J. Spalding

Mark J. Spalding has been the President of The Ocean Foundation since its founding 13 years ago. Under his leadership, it has grown exponentially from a $200,000 to $7 million/year budget, as he prioritized its focus on steering the human relationship with the sea to a brighter future through diverse, carefully chosen strategies and projects. Mark drove the design and establishment of the Alaska Oceans Program, the Shipping Safety Partnership, the Loreto Bay Foundation and the St. Kitts Foundation. Mark is the advisor to the Rockefeller Ocean Strategy (an unprecedented ocean-centric investment fund), and designed the first-ever blue carbon offset program, SeaGrass Grow. Mark is serving on the Sargasso Sea Commission. He is a member of the Pool of Experts for the UN World Ocean Assessment, and a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Blue Economy, at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. From 1994 to 2003, Mark was the Director of the Environmental Law and Civil Society Program, and Editor of the Journal of Environment and Development, at UCSD’s Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies (IR/PS). In addition to lecturing at IR/PS, Mark has taught at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD's Muir College, UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, and University of San Diego's School of Law. He was a research fellow at UCSD's Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, a Sustainability Institute – Donella Meadows Leadership Fellow and a SeaWeb Senior Fellow. He holds a B.A. in history with Honors from Claremont McKenna College, a J.D. from Loyola Law School, and a Master in Pacific International Affairs (MPIA) from IR/PS. He is a graduate of the British School of Motor Racing. Mark's deep connection with the ocean began as a young boy growing up in the Central Valley of California; each time he crested the coastal range and the Pacific came into view, it was like a breath of fresh air.