The voice of youth

The Future Maritime Leaders essay competition calls on aspiring decision-makers and opinion-shapers to add their perspective to the discussion on the sustainable future of the maritime sector.

The Future Maritime Leaders essay competition represents a valuable opportunity for young people aspiring to become high-level leaders of the future to meet and engage with senior maritime stakeholders. The winners of the competition will win an invitation to the Global Maritime Forum’s Virtual High-Level Meeting this October, and its Annual Summit 2021 in London. There, they will join 250 leaders from inside and outside the maritime sector, and represent the voice of young generations — all expenses covered.

The essay topic

The UN has dubbed the next 10 years its ‘Decade of Action’ for delivering the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of shared ambitions, providing the road map towards a better global future. Fulfilling these ambitions will take a concerted and collaborative effort between a wide range of stakeholders in a variety of different fields.

Over the next decade, the global maritime industry finds itself in a unique position to contribute to realizing these goals. International shipping is responsible for the transport of 80% of global trade as well as having deep connections to a wide range of stakeholders from across the value chain. This gives it a vital role in tackling issues like trade and growth, climate change, global infrastructure and food and energy security.

Essay question: Over the next decade, how can the maritime sector continue to contribute to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals?

We encourage participants to focus on the topic they find the most pressing and to develop an original solution to address it. The essay should take the form of an ‘op-ed’, which you can find a definition of here.

How to participate

  • Essay submissions should not comprise more than 1000 words;
  • The competition is open to students and young professionals aged 18-30;
  • Participants in the competition should also attach their CV and a submission form when submitting their essay;
  • We can only accept documents written in English and saved in PDF format.


The competition closed for submissions on June 21st 2020 11.59 pm CEST.

A selection committee comprised of senior maritime stakeholders will select three winning essays, and the competition winners will be contacted in the beginning of September.

Should you have any questions, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions section.

Selection Committee

The Selection Committee, which will select the winners of the essay competition, is comprised of the following members:

  • Christine Loh, Chief Development Strategist, Institute for the Environment, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong (Head of Committee)
  • Amy Jadesimi, Managing Director, LADOL, Nigeria
  • Graham Westgarth, Chief Executive Officer, V.Group, UK
  • Oivind Lorentzen III, Director, SEACOR Holdings, USA
  • Stephen Cotton, General Secretary, International Transport Workers’ Federation, UK

Future Maritime Leaders 2019 on stage at Global Maritime Forum's Annual Summit in Singapore