Asha de Vos has published several key research publications on Sri Lankan blue whales, which have led to this population being designated as a species in urgent need of conservation research by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The IWC has since invited key Sri Lankan government personnel to participate in whale ship-strike related meetings to gain a broader understanding of the problem. Asha is also an invited member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Cetacean Specialist Group. Her efforts to bring attention to the unusual Sri Lankan blue whales and the threats they face have been showcased internationally by Channel 7 Australia. She is also a guest blogger for National Geographic. Asha is a TED Senior Fellow, a Duke University Global Fellow in Marine Conservation and was recently selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. She is currently a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California Santa Cruz, where she is working specifically on reducing the problem of ship-strike of blue whales in Sri Lankan waters.
I Am Driven By | I am driven by a desire to leave the world a better place than I found it, an overwhelming sense of curiosity and a need to break stereotypes.
A Key Talent | Persistence ~ a never give up attitude. Roadblocks and setbacks are an inevitable part of life. When faced with them, I try to figure out what I can learn from them. How I can turn them from negatives to positives or how I can make them work for me rather than against me. The challenges never end, but if you persist and deal with setbacks rationally, I guarantee you will end up a winner.
Principles I Live By | Be a good citizen of the world, be humble, be mindful and ensure you are not having a negative impact on anything or anyone, and ALWAYS HAVE FUN.
Critical Skills I Develop | Story-telling, team leadership skills and meditation.
Lessons I Have Learnt | I’ve learnt many things along the way but if I was to pass on my lessons of life, here are the most important ones. First, do what you love. It doesn’t matter what you do but just make sure you love it; second, never give up, no matter how many people question why you are doing it, if you are passionate about it and are not having any negative impacts in the process, just keep pushing – even if things begin to look and feel a little bleak.
Every cloud definitely has a silver lining; third, build up a fan base of those who respect, love and care for you and keep them very close. They will be the ones who will help you face your biggest challenges, and trust me when I say there will be many; fourth, challenges are temporary because there are always ways around or over them. Remember, tough times don’t last, tough people do; fifth, step outside your comfort zone and live outside the box; the world is a beautiful place with lots more opportunities for exploration and fulfillment. Embrace them; sixth, always have an open mind and be willing to learn. There is something to be learnt from everyone and everything and learning is what helps us grow; and, finally, do not lose track of your roots and where you come from. Always stay humble.
Performing At My Peak | To stay at my peak I try to maintain a healthy body and mind. To do this I make sure I get good rest, exercise regularly, take breaks to rejuvenate myself, do the things I love, surround myself with people who nurture me and consciously work to cultivate and maintain a positive mindset.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | My dream is to be a voice from a part of the world that is rarely listened to, speaking on behalf of a part of the planet that is often overlooked.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I want youth from the developing world to realise that they can live out of the box, pursue bigger dreams and be whatever they want to be. That everyone has potential but it’s how you harness it that helps you stand out. I want to leave a legacy of equality and change the perception of women in the global south. I want to create niches and pathways so other dreamers face less challenges and have more opportunities. I want to leave a legacy of increased awareness and caring for the ocean. I want to leave the world a better place than I found it.