2019 – With collaboration with a local partner, Michael AW successfully launched the world premiere of the Elysium Epic Trilogy exhibition in Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu on 23 April 2019. Dr. Sylvia Earle, David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, and Alex Rose were part of the entourage to bring the imageries from the Antarctic, Arctic, and Coral Triangle to the world’s second-biggest economy to inspire net-zero carbon emission by 2050.
2018 – Michael worked with local partner Angelique Batuna for the ban of shark fins and shark products and single used plastic in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. At the closing ceremony of Celebrate the Sea Festival in Manado, 4 April the Honourable Daniel Mewengkang, Head of Tourism, and Mrs. Marly Gumalag, Head of Environment by decree of the Governor of North Sulawesi, declared the ban of shark fins and shark products. Then Mrs. Marly Gumalag, Head of Environment made a second declaration on the ban of single-use plastics in North Sulawesi! North Sulawesi and Manado City became the first province and cities in Indonesia to make this historic declaration. This also makes Indonesia the first country in Asia to declare a ban on single-use plastics.
2015 – project director for the Elysium Artists for the Arctic project; an initiative to produce a film, book, and a series of exhibitions to inspire greater appreciation and preservation of the Arctic environment. ElysiumEpic.org
2014 August – after one year of a persistent lobby with over 100,000 signatures, Michael AW successfully persuaded Singapore Airlines to stop the freight of shark fins on flights.
2013 June Michael successfully lobbied the Ministry of Fisheries and Trade of Brunei to ban the import and trade of shark products; on 8 June, at the 12th Celebrate the Sea Festival 2013 the festival celebrates the most momentous biggest milestone since the inception of the festival in 2002. Minister Pehin Dato Yahya in his opening speech declared: “His Majesty, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, through the Department of Fisheries, will enforce the ban on the catch and landings of all shark species from the waters of Brunei Darussalam and thus their sales in the domestic market. Furthermore, the government will also now officially enforce the ban on the importation and trade of all shark products.” Brunei was the first country in the world to declare a ban on shark fins and all shark products.
2011 July – Michael AW initiated the 1000KidsOneMessage campaign in Hong Kong. With the support of his associate Dr. Elizabeth Quat, 1000 children convened at Cyber Port on 9 July, to make the “I am the Future, I won’t eat Shark fins” pledge. Dr. Sylvia Earle, David Doubilet, and Jennifer Hayes were on-site to support the initiative. In 2012, Michael AW intends to stage the same event in Singapore.
2010, Celebrate the Sea celebrated its 8th Anniversary in Manado, Indonesia with over 3,000 entries in the children’s art competition and nearly 1,000 entries for the international underwater imaging competitions. In 2018, for the second time, the festival return to Manado, North Sulawesi.
2008: Michael’s vision was to inspire nations and countries to take a day each year to celebrate the sea. In September 2007, he lobbied Usec Cynthia Carrion and in March 2008, he wrote officially to Her Excellency Gloria Arroyo, President of the Republic of Philippines. On 13 May 2008, President Arroyo made an official proclamation declaring June as Celebrate the Sea month and every 2nd Saturday of June as Celebrate the Sea day. This was his milestone and he wished to make Celebrate the Sea a global event.
In 2007, Michael garnered some of the world’s most celebrated underwater photographers, filmmakers, scientists to be on board his dream journal Ocean Geographic. The current editorial board is now comprised of Dr Sylvia Earle, Dr. Gerry Allen, Dr. Carden Wallace, Emory Kristof, Stan Waterman, David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, Cabel Davis, Brian Skerry, Laurent Ballesta, Doug Perrine, Howard and Michelle Hall, Alex Mustard, and Wyland. Today, Ocean Geographic is one of the world’s most inspiring journals of the sea.
In 2004, Michael AW collaborated with good friend Mathieu Meur to produce the “Essential Guide to Digital Underwater Photography”. The Advanced edition was launch in 2007. This year they are working on the 4th edition; since the first edition, the title is a best seller, adopted by many photographic instructors as their ‘Bible’ for underwater photography instructions. In 2007, Michael & Mathieu conducted the first Essential Digital Underwater Photography workshop in Bali; in December 2011 they conducted their 8th workshop and the many international awards won by past graduates attest to the success of their program.
In 2002, with the launch of his book, he founded the first Celebrate the Sea Festival in Singapore. In 2003 and 2004, the festival was staged in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and in 2005 and 2006 in Singapore. Manila, Philippines, staged the festival in 2007, 2008, and 2009. In 2010 the festival was staged in Manado, North Sulawesi. The festival moved to Hong Kong in 2011 before returning to Singapore in 2012. The most recent Celebrate the Sea was in 2018 in Manado, North Sulawesi.
In 1998 Michael co-founded Asian Geographic with good friend Christopher Lee; he managed the title as publisher till 2005. In 2001, he acquired Scuba Diver Australasia for Asian Geographic and successfully revamped the title to become the PADI Diving Society magazine in 2004. Today Asian Geographic and Scuba Diver SDAA are the most acclaimed periodicals in the Asia Pacific.