When Oxford University recently conducted a forum on maritime security, they called upon U.S. Africa Command to provide the experts to address the audience of more than 50 academics from across Oxford and government officials from the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence. Phil Heyl, Chief for U.S. Africa Command's Air and Maritime Programs (J589), who had been invited by Oxford to participate in the previous year's forum, agreed to do it again this year and asked Oxford to invite Commodore Obi Medani, director of training for the Nigerian Navy. Together, Heyl and the Commodore made up the team Oxford invited to share first-hand knowledge and expertise in an event titled, "Fighting Piracy and other Transnational Threats in West Africa: US and Nigerian perspectives."
The event, conducted October 29 at Oxford University's Merton College, was coordinated by Dr. Julia Amos, with Oxford's Department of International Development. Dr. Amos is a research fellow in global wellbeing who has been teaching at Oxford University colleges at the graduate and undergraduate levels since 2007.
Of his opportunity to be a presenter at Oxford, Commodore Medani said, “For me, it was a very humbling experience to participate in the Merton College lecture on fighting piracy and other transnational crimes in West Africa. As a long established institution, Merton College is the appropriate place to market the Maritime Forces of West Africa to the wider world. The audience, the students and staff of the College were in every respect a very articulate one. I certainly look forward to participating in future programs."
"Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea is a critical enabler for economic development in Africa. Multinational and Regional cooperation is essential for a secure maritime environment," stated Heyl, who described the forum as a great opportunity to team with Commodore Medani to present the African perspective on maritime security challenges.