WISTA International conference focuses on accelerating action on sustainability and diversity

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The Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) is setting the stage for transformative action in the maritime sector at its upcoming Annual General Meeting and Conference. To be held from 23 to 27 October 2023 in Montevideo, Uruguay, the conference aims to redefine Latin American shipping and trading under its theme: ‘Towards an Inclusive Greener Digital Future’. The conference aims to be a catalyst for impactful change across multiple areas of the maritime sector.

WISTA International President Elpi Petraki (pictured) encapsulates the urgency of the event’s mission. “The time for mere discussion is over. The maritime industry stands at a critical juncture where issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and sustainability must be transformed into actionable policies. It’s imperative to engage and empower our workforce in driving this change. We all have a role to play in steering the industry towards a future that is both equitable and sustainable,” she asserts.

In keeping with this ethos, the conference has a high-calibre roster of speakers and panellists. Among them are Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of IMO and the soon-to-be Secretary-General Arsenio Domínguez. Rear Admiral José Luis Elizondo, Chief of the Uruguayan Coast Guard, will also deliver a keynote address.

At the heart of the conference will be action-oriented panel sessions. Moderators and panellists will not only be thought leaders but also agents of change in their respective fields. Topics range from Latin America’s emerging global trade role to the urgent need for diversity, from enhancing customer experiences in a digital age to charting a greener course for shipping.

Given the global nature of shipping and its unique challenges, the conference will also focus on Latin America’s increasingly significant role in international trade. Recognizing the interwoven destinies of diverse geographical and cultural landscapes in shipping is vital for framing global and locally nuanced solutions.

To cement its commitment to fostering the next generation of female maritime leaders, WISTA is sponsoring 15 women from maritime academies to attend the conference. Supported by the TK Foundation, this initiative serves as a clarion call for industry-wide gender balance.
A staggering imbalance currently exists, with women constituting just 2% of the seafaring workforce and 29% of the broader maritime industry.

The conference serves not just as a hub for sharing insights but as a launchpad for tangible actions. To quote Petraki: “Actions indeed speak louder than words. This event is designed to catalyze change, sharing learned lessons and igniting collaborations that can navigate the industry towards a more equitable and sustainable future.”

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