On Sunday, 2 December, WMU's Chancellor and IMO Secretary-General, Mr. Koji Sekimizu, conferred postgraduate degrees on the World Maritime University's Class of 2012. The Guest of Honour was Carl Johan Hagman, CEO of Stena AB Shipping, who spoke to the graduates about the global importance of shipping and the contribution they will make, adding that he encounters WMU graduates on a daily basis in his work with Stena AB Shipping.
Speeches were delivered by WMU's Chancellor and by the President, Dr. Bjorn Kjerfve, before the conferring of two Honorary Doctorates, awarded in recognition of exceptional service to the international maritime community. The recipients were H.E. Binali Yıldırım, Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication, Republic of Turkey, and Alberto Aleman Zubieta, Administrator/CEO (ret.) of the Panama Canal Authority.
The program continued with the appointment of two Honorary Fellows, in recognition of their distinguished and outstanding service to WMU. The awards were made to Chris Wortham, Manager of Maritime Safety Engineering for Inmarsat, and Chris Horrocks CBE, formerly Secretary General, of the International Shipping Federation and International Chamber of Shipping.
Three awards of Outstanding Alumnus were also presented, the first time such a distinction has been awarded. The recipients were H.E. Binali Yıldırım, Admiral Ramon C. Liwag, the previous Commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard and Admiral Edmund C. Tan, the current Commandant.
The first member of the Class of 2012 to receive his degree was Woo, Jong Kyun of South Korea who received his Ph.D. He was followed by 101 graduates of the Malmo-based M.Sc. in Maritime Affairs, and 24 graduates of the distance-learning Postgraduate Diploma in Marine Insurance.
As usual, a highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the annual student awards. The Chancellor's Medal for Academic Excellence was awarded to Sotiris Vlastaris of Greece, while the Pierre Leonard Prize for the Best Female Student was awarded to Sasakawa Fellow Jenette Tifuh Mujingni Epse Cho of Cameroon. A second Sasakawa Fellow's achievements were recognised when Nadiya Isikova of Ukraine received the Lloyd's Maritime Academy Dissertation Prize. The Informa Law Dissertation Prize was awarded to Dinson Baack Vasquez of Chile, and the C. P. Srivastava Award for International Fellowship was awarded to Philippa Armah of Ghana.
This graduation ceremony brings the number of WMU graduates to 3,477 from 164 countries. The alumni are making a significant impact on the global maritime sector, and are taking on leadership roles worldwide. They hold positions such as ministers of transport, directors of shipping companies and ports, and heads of maritime academies and many graduates represent their home countries at international forums and organizations such as the IMO.
The WMU web site has links to photos of the occasion, a video of the Chancellor's speech and local TV coverage of the day: http://wmu.se/news/wmu-graduation-2012