About Keynote Speaker Jean-Michel Cousteau
For more than five decades, Jean-Michel Cousteau has dedicated himself and his vast experience to communicate to people of all nations and generations his love and concern for our water planet.
The son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel has investigated the world’s oceans aboard Calypso and Alcyone for much of his life. Honoring his heritage, Jean-Michel founded Ocean Futures Society in 1999 to carry on this pioneering work.
As Chairman of the Board and President of Ocean Futures Society, a non-profit marine conservation and education organization, Jean-Michel travels the world, meeting with leaders and policymakers at the grassroots level and at the highest echelons of government and businesses. He is dedicated to educating young people, documenting stories of change and hope, and lending his reputation and support to energize alliances for positive change. As Ocean Futures Society’s spokesman, Jean-Michel serves as an impassioned diplomat for the environment, reaching out to the public through a variety of media and educational programs.
With Jean-Michel’s lifetime of achievements and exemplary public service in ocean conservation through education, awareness, and diplomacy, he was honored with the highest French civilian order of distinction, the Chevalier de la Légion D’Honneur, Knight of the Legion of Honor from the President of France, François Hollande in May 2016.
Jean-Michel has produced over 80 films, received the Emmy, the Peabody Award, the Sept d’Or, and the Cable Ace Award. In 1989, he became a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times where his articles appeared in over sixty newspapers worldwide. Reaching millions of people globally through Ocean Futures Society, Jean-Michel continues to produce environmentally oriented adventure programs and television specials, public service announcements, multi-media programs for schools, web-based marine content, books, articles for magazines, newspaper columns, and public lectures. His most recent film, an IMAX film, “Secret Ocean 3D” opened in 2015 and screened in over fifty theaters around the world.
In 2006, Jean-Michel’s initiative to protect the Northwest Hawaiian Islands took him to The White House where he screened his PBS-KQED documentary, Voyage to Kure, for President George W. Bush. The President was inspired and in June 2006, he declared the 1,200-mile chain of islands a Marine National Monument—at the time the largest marine protected areas in the world.
Jean-Michel also has a long history of innovative design in the field of architecture and the ocean. Acting on a childhood dream to build cities under the sea, he pursued a degree in architecture from the Paris School of Architecture and remains a member of the Ordre National des Architectes. Artificial floating islands, schools, and an advanced marine studies center in Marseilles, France, are among his projects.
Some of Jean-Michel’s numerous awards:
Jean-Michel has won dozens of awards recognizing his efforts, including: Pepperdine University awarded Jean-Michel an Honorary Doctor’s Degree in Humane Letters in 1976. In 2003, he was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. In 2008, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Jules Verne Adventures and the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2012, Jean-Michel was appointed as Ambassador-Global Cities Covenant on Climate- Mexico City Pact and received the Environmental Hero award from the Surf Industry Manufacture Association. And in 2016, Jean-Michel received Environmental Academy Award from the World Business Academy.