A crisp, clear winter's night in Malmo and Graduation Eve: the annual reception hosted by the Ocean Policy Research Foundation (OPRF) to honour its graduating fellows felt particularly auspicious for the students, distinguished guests and University staff gathering at the beautiful Fridhemsborg mansion on 1 December 2012.
Amongst the distinguished guests were WMU's Chancellor and IMO Secretary-General, Mr Koji Sekimizu, The Nippon Foundation's Executive Secretary Mr Mitsuyuki Unno, the Mayor of Malmo Mr Kent Andersson, the OPRF's Executive Director Mr Shuhei Okazaki and its Special Advisor Mr Eisuke Kudo. University staff were led by President Bjorn Kjerfve and the OPRF hosts were particularly pleased to welcome WMU alumni and Sasakawa Fellows Admiral Ramon Liwag (retired) and Admiral Edmund Tan, past and current Commandants of the Philippine Coast Guard, who were to receive the distinction of Outstanding Alumnus at the Graduation Ceremony the following day.
The centre of attention was, of course, the 27 graduands who were to be awarded their degrees of Master of Science. Mr Okazaki congratulated them warmly, noting that their academic success was matched by the invaluable networking and cooperation that hallmarks each class of WMU graduates: the “heart to heart” connection. He pledged the continued support of the OPRF in the years to come, noting that the OPRF would always be there for its Fellows when help was needed. Certificates marking the admission to the rank of Sasakawa Fellow were then awarded to the graduands.
Ms Nadiya Isikova from the Ukraine responded on behalf of the new Fellows. She thanked the OPRF for its support throughout their study period in Malmo and for making it possible to see and experience so much, so far away from home. She thanked the OPRF in particular for the opportunity to visit Japan which had shown the Fellows the “best traditions of hospitality, wisdom and hard work”. She too pledged future commitment from the Fellows to the OPRF and finished by wishing her fellow graduands all the best in their professional and personal development.
The Japanese-style buffet dinner that followed was greatly enjoyed by everyone, as was the opportunity for the graduating Fellows to meet and chat with the distinguished guests, their junior student colleagues and WMU staff members. Admirals Liwag and Tan were particularly popular guests, providing a sourcae of inspiration to up-and-coming maritime professionals and living proof once again that WMU graduates are particularly well-placed for professional success.
The happy evening ended with promises to meet again the following day at the Graduation Ceremony: 27 new OPRF Fellows to receive their degrees, and 23 aspiring junior OPRF colleagues to witness their success and dream of their own.
Student Services Officer
World Maritime University