Support Carole’s Leadership Journey to Antarctica!

By Carole Durussel

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Hello, my name is Carole, I’m from Switzerland, a marine scientist by training, and I’ve been working for the last decade in the field of ocean governance, and particularly on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity.

I’m about to embark on a one-year leadership journey with Homeward Bound that culminates in a 3-week voyage to Antarctica, and I need your help: I would like to invite you to be part of my leadership journey to Antarctica.

By making a contribution to my campaign, you will not only help me realise one of my biggest dreams, but you will also be contributing to helping women across the globe to become strong leaders that will help create positive change for a better, more sustainable future. I thank you very much in advance for your help and support!

From science to policy: My ocean story

Being from Switzerland, a landlocked country, it was seeing whales for the first time in Canada when I was 11 that got me hooked on marine issues. This passion to become a marine scientist led me to study marine environmental sciences in Germany and to undertake several internships, both in the field studying marine mammals, and in the office undertaking data analyses. With my degree in hand, I started working for an intergovernmental organisation, where I discovered the lack of protection afforded to the high seas – a term used to refer to the 64% of the Ocean that do not belong to any country. This experience taught me that science in itself isn’t enough; working together and bringing science directly into the hands of decision-makers is what contributes to creating change. This led me to do a PhD in international environmental law in Australia to better understand how to help decision-makers take better informed decisions about ocean conservation. I now continue working at the science-policy interface, coordinating an international project at a research institute in Germany, and contributing expertise to the ongoing global negotiations for a high seas treaty under the United Nations.

Excited to be part of Team 5 of Homeward Bound

I am very honored to be one of 80 women selected for the fifth year of Homeward Bound. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to develop and strengthen my leadership skills; to gain confidence in my abilities to mentor and empower the next generation of scientists, and particularly women, to bring their expertise and knowledge to policy-makers so they can take better informed decisions; and to contribute to this important network of women that will help create positive change for a better, more sustainable future.

My one-year leadership journey with Homeward Bound will start in November 2019. It will be delivered online in a first instance through a series of lectures, coaching sessions and collaboration projects. At the end of the journey in November 2020, I will have the amazing opportunity to meet all my cohort colleagues in person during a 3-week course on-board the MS Ushuaia while traveling around the Antarctic Peninsula. Why Antarctica? Its remoteness and extreme weather have made it one of the last pristine places on Earth. However, the influence of human activities and climate change can also be felt there, particularly in the West Antarctic Peninsula (see IPCC SROCC 2019). This special environment, through its remoteness and isolation, also creates the appropriate space to put the tools and knowledge learnt during the year-long leadership training to the test, by encouraging introspective reflection, teamwork and creative thinking.

What is Homeward Bound?

EMPOWERING WOMEN for better environmental outcomes

Today’s environmental challenges are complex. To tackle them requires us to work all together. It also requires a strong link between science and policy, as science provides the crucial basis to support informed decision-making. While many women graduate with a degree in STEMM – an acronym used to describe persons working in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine – only a few continue their career in science, let alone end up in leadership positions (see, e.g., National Geographic 2014, World Economic Forum 2017, Dattner et al. 2019). Yet gender equality has been shown to lead to better environmental outcomes (see, e.g., OECD 2008, European Parliament 2016, Kassinis et al. 2016, University of Colorado at Boulder 2019, UNGA 2019 Report 74/111). Empowering women in STEMM to give them the visibility, voice, knowledge and tools to help address today’s environmental challenges and inspire other women to also do so, is exactly what Homeward Bound is all about.

Creating a strong, GLOBAL COLLABORATION PLATFORM for women

Homeward Bound is a global leadership initiative founded by Australian leadership activist Fabian Dattner and Antarctic marine scientist Dr. Jess Melbourne-Thomas. Each year since 2016, between 70 and 100 women with a STEMM background from around the world are selected and trained through Homeward Bound. To date, 328 women have been coached through the programme, each of them becoming part of this global collaboration platform. Homeward Bound is an amazing opportunity to empower women and to give them a chance to have a strong leadership position and voice. The ultimate goal? Upskilling a total of 1'000 women in STEMM from all around the world by 2027 under the motto ‘we are stronger together’ to create the network to help tackle today’s environmental challenges.

How can YOU help? Be part of my leadership journey!

About half of this one-year leadership programme, including the journey to Antarctica, is funded by Homeward Bound through its sponsors. The remaining costs – a total of about 25’000 EUR (this includes the one-year programme, trip to Ushuaia, Antarctica-proof clothes, special travel insurance and living costs on-board the MS Ushuaia) – have to be raised by each participant.

I am grateful for every donation and sponsorship that will help me sail on this leadership journey. I am looking forward to sharing this amazing journey with you and thank you very much in advance for all your help and support!

Please note that I will donate the surplus funds donated to my campaign to the Homeward Bound scholarship programme to give other women across the world the opportunity to participate in this amazing leadership programme.

Be in touch: Follow me on Social Media!

Be sure to follow me on Social Media (#CaroleToAntarctica) so you don’t miss any update on my leadership learning experiences or posts of beautiful Antarctic landscapes and wildlife:

Twitter: @caroledurussel

Instagram: @locazonzo

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me: carole.hb5[at]

Want to know more about Homeward Bound?


Twitter: @HomewardBound16

Instagram: homewardboundprojects

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Team Members

Carole Durussel

Homeward Bound

Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)

Ocean Team at IASS