International Ocean Institute


Elisabeth Mann Borgese

Birth Centennial Memorial

24th April 1918 – 8th February 2002


A hundred years ago, this 24th April 2018, Elisabeth Mann Borgese, founder of the International Ocean Institute, was born in Munich, Germany, to Thomas Mann and Katia Pringsheim.


Elisabeth Mann Borgese was known worldwide as “The Mother of the Oceans” and dedicated all her life to the understanding of ocean matters, to the development of a constitution for the oceans and to the consideration of the oceans as a “great laboratory for the making of a new international order based on new forms of international cooperation and organisation, on a new economic theory, on a new philosophy”. (from Elisabeth Mann Borgese: 1986; The Future of the Oceans: A Report to the Club of Rome. Pub: Harvest House).



                           Elisabeth Mann Borgese, Founder (© Heike Ollertz)


 "In 1967 when Arvid Pardo, the great ambassador from

the tiny island of Malta, held his famous speech on

the oceans before the United Nations, our utopia

converged with reality: the world's oceans and seabeds

should become the common heritage of mankind, and,

in the interest of present and future generations,

should be fostered and administered exclusively to

peaceful ends."



Mann Borgese, E. (1999) 'Was kommt hinter dem Horizont?',

mare – Magazine of the Oceans, mareverlag GmbH & Co. OHG, No. 16, pp. 33.


Message from the IOI Patron


The International Ocean Institute is the legacy of its founder Prof Elisabeth Mann Borgese who devoted the best part of her life to the inspiring and worthy mission of integrating the ethical and moral dimension into the global governance dimension. She helped to fashion the constitution of the ocean – the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – as an instrument for the peaceful use of ocean services and resources for the benefit of all humankind.


The direct impact of the human imprint on the ocean, combined with the interdependent nexus of ocean and climate change calls for a new vision and a new direction in the sustainable governance of the ocean, its seas and their resources.


Today I invite you to share with us an exciting and challenging journey by making your own contribution to improve the sustainability of the ocean and thus promote peace and development worldwide. There are many ways by which you can become involved with us so please take the time to visit our website, learn more about what the International Ocean Institute does and how you can be a part of this great venture.



Mr. Nikolaus Gelpke

Patron, International Ocean Institute