|Global Managing Director for Oceans, The Nature Conservancy|
18 October 1952 |
Agios Nikolaos, Greece
|Political party||Communist Party (Before 1991)
Panhellenic Socialist Movement (2003–present)
|Alma mater||National Technical University of Athens
Damanaki leads a global team focused on how the world manages its oceans, including sustainable fisheries management, large-scale protection and restoration of coral reefs and other ecosystems, coastal resilience, and mapping and quantification of the full value of the world’s oceans to people.
She most recently served for four years as European Union Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
In her role as Commissioner, the EU was able to bring fish populations back to healthier levels—from five sustainable stocks in 2010 to up to 27 in 2014. In just the next five years, the continuation of her fisheries policy efforts could lead to 15 million more tons of fish in the sea, 30 percent more jobs in Europe and the equivalent of over US $2 billion in additional revenue. She also introduced and implemented the Blue Growth agenda for Seas and Oceans in Europe, which aimed to create 1.6 million new jobs and the equivalent of US $750 billion in revenue by 2020 in sectors such as coastal tourism, ocean energy, and marine biotechnology. In addition, she established legislation to create a common framework for Marine Spatial Planning to map and better manage maritime activities across EU countries.
Damanaki was born in Agios Nikolaos, Crete, in 1952, and studied chemical engineering in the National Technical University of Athens. As a student, she became a member of the Communist Youth of Greece, the youth section of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), but also became actively involved in the antidictatorial struggle and took part in the Athens Polytechnic uprising. Damanaki was the voice of the famous "Εδώ Πολυτεχνείο" ("This is the Polytechnic") radio broadcast from within the uprising, calling Greek citizens out to support; she was arrested and tortured by the regime.
From 1977 to 1993 she was consistently elected member of the Hellenic Parliament, first with the Communist Party and then with Synaspismos, the new party she became president of in 1991. This made her Greece's first female party president, preceded by being the first woman elected as Vice President of Parliament in 1986.
She was a candidate for mayor of Athens twice, in 1994, supported by Synaspismos, and in 1998, supported by both Synaspismos and PASOK; in the latter year she came second, defeated by Dimitris Avramopoulos, supported by the conservative party of New Democracy.
In November 2009 she was nominated as the representative of Greece in the European Commission and on 27 November 2009 was elected as the Commissioner-designate for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, serving from 2010 to 2014.
Maria Damanaki is also the writer of four books "The female face of power" (Το θηλυκό πρόσωπο της εξουσίας) in 1995, "The return of Politics" (Η επιστροφή της Πολιτικής) in 2001, "The return of politics – the European perspective" in 2004, and "The university in transition" in 2006.
- Maria Damanaki, her official site in Greek
- Maria Damanaki, her Nature Conservancy biography
- Maria Damanaki Official EU Media Gallery
- Curriculum vitae on the Hellenic Parliament website
|Party political offices|
|Chairperson of Synaspismós
|Greek European Commissioner
as European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs
|European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
as European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries