Maritime leaders of tomorrow from over 70 countries graduated from World Maritime University on 4 November
On Sunday, 4 November, the maritime leaders of tomorrow from over 70 countries graduated from the World Maritime University (WMU). WMU says the graduates have received the education required to contribute to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in their home countries as well as within the broader maritime and ocean community. They are equipped to become the maritime and ocean leaders of tomorrow that will promote safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping on clean oceans.
The graduating Class of 2018 is one of the largest to date and includes 267 Graduates from 71 countries. A third of the graduates are women. The Class of 2018 is composed of 124 MSc graduates from the Malmö headquarters, 58 graduates from the China programme, making a total number of 182 MSc graduates in 2018; two PhD graduates; and 83 graduates from the distance learning programmes including 14 LLM graduates. The 2018 graduation ceremony brings the total number of WMU graduates to 4,921 from 168 countries.
WMU President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, delivered welcome remarks noting that 2018 is the 35th anniversary of WMU, and the 70th anniversary of the University’s parent institution, the International Maritime Organization. The President thanked the City of Malmö and the Government of Sweden for their continued generosity and support in hosting the University, as well as the many donors for their ongoing commitment to the WMU mission and its sustainability. Noting highlights from the academic year, the President referred to the ongoing commitment of WMU to the UN SDGs, the inauguration of the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, and the successful WMU Global Ocean Conference. Further, she referred to the advancement of the WMU Research Agenda and expansion of WMU publications that extend the University’s global outreach and service to the maritime and ocean community. The President also announced “The WMU-Koji Sekimizu PhD Fellowship” to be funded by former Chancellor Koji Sekimizu and the Government of Singapore on “Maritime Governance”, as well as the SwAM-German Government PhD and Post-Doc fellowships for ocean research that will be funded by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) and Germany.
In addressing the graduates, President Doumbia-Henry called on them to return to their home countries and activate national alumni groups to foster the power of the global WMU network. With the knowledge and capacities gained at WMU, each graduate has the capacity to help build the maritime, ports and ocean sectors of the economy in their home countries. She stated “The transformative power of your experience has developed your knowledge, critical thinking skills, and enlightened you in innumerable ways. Your WMU experience has expanded your horizons, your professional network and enriched you personally in ways that you may only fully appreciate as you advance in your career. You will go on to change the world.”
Mr Kitack Lim, the first International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General and WMU Chancellor to hold a MSc degree from WMU, conferred the degrees on the graduates. He reflected on his own WMU experience noting it is a privilege to study at WMU in programmes designed to meet the maritime industry’s need for highly trained and specialized professionals. “From today, each one of you will join an elite group of maritime professionals in the global industry that has shaped the modern world. WMU has provided you with the key tools to succeed in making a difference in the global maritime industry,” he stated. Mr Lim also announced that all current and future Malmö students will be provided with free access to the IMO searchable database of all IMO Conventions and key Instruments.
The Guest of Honour was Dr. Anders Wijkman, Co-President of the Club of Rome. He highlighted the active contribution the graduates will make to the achievement of the UN SDGs by 2030 and emphasized that the inherent challenges could only be addressed successfully through working together. Despite the current political climate, he maintained that pessimism is not an option stating, “We need to focus on the challenges and believe in the opportunities to bring about change. We have the knowledge. We have the technologies. It is often the will that is lacking.” He continued, “Each of you here today is likely to be in the position to influence decision-making...You will be on the forefront of the battle to save our oceans.”
Representing WMU’s host city of Malmö, the Mayor and Chairperson of the Malmö City Executive Board, Ms. Katrin Stjernfeldt-Jammeh, remarked that Malmö is the most diverse city in Sweden, making it a perfect home for WMU. In addition, the UN SDGs are guiding stars for both WMU, and the CIty of Malmö. “You have the latest knowledge and the whole world as your field of work...You are the future leaders within the maritime field and we have very high expectations for all of you,” she stated.
Honorary awards made during the ceremony included the award of Doctor of Science, honoris causa to Ms Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and International Development Cooperation and Climate, in recognition of her outstanding work and deep commitment to safeguarding the future of the world’s oceans. In her remarks, Ms Lövin spoke of “the great murder mystery of the Silent Seas”. She noted that we are all responsible for their degradation, and that we all now have a responsibility to safeguard them. She stated, ”We can’t just go on with business as usual. We have to rethink how we are acting because our oceans aren’t limitless. They are, in fact, finite.”
Mr Abud Jamal Said, President of the Student Council, also addressed the gathering and to his classmates, in particular, he stated, “I urge us all to embrace unity in diversity, and not only maintain the friendships we created throughout our studies, but to improve on our networking for advancement of the international maritime agendas and development.”