On Sunday, 1 November, WMU’s Chancellor and Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Mr. Koji Sekimizu, conferred postgraduate degrees on the World Maritime University’s Class of 2015. In total, there are 202 graduates in the Class of 2015 including the M.Sc. programmes in Malmö, and Dalian and Shanghai, China, as well as the the distance-learning Postgraduate Diploma graduates. Overall, the graduates represent over 40 countries.
WMU President, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, delivered opening remarks extending a special welcome to IMO Secretary-General Emeritus and WMU Chancellor Emeritus, Mr. William O’Neil who was in attendance. The President remarked that the WMU Board of Governors in May, and the IMO Council this past June, approved the expansion of the mandate of WMU to include an oceans agenda. The President further noted adoption this past September by the General Assembly of the United Nations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of which Goal 14 calls to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” President Doumbia-Henry affirmed WMU’s role in helping to bring this agenda to fruition by offering two new MSc specializations as of 2016 - Maritime Energy Management and Ocean Sustainability, Governance & Management. The President thanked Chancellor Sekimizu for his foresight in shaping the future of the University stating that Chancellor Sekimizu “has dedicated enormous energy to ensure that WMU would be in a position to take a leadership role and fulfill its mandate for the next 30 years and beyond. He has been unwavering in his support for WMU and the wider goals and role of maritime education.” Speaking directly to the graduates, President Doumbia-Henry encouraged them to remember that WMU is a resource to collaborate with, “You may have completed your formal program of study with us, but we belong to you for life. Tell us how we can be of further service. Remember your time here…and stay involved as alumni. And speaking of those who come after, you can do no better service for your Alma Mater than to continue sending us your best and brightest to study at WMU.”
The Guest of Honour was Mr. Ki-tack Lim, Secretary-General (Elect), International Maritime Organization. Mr. Lim is an alumnus (M.Sc. 1991 MSA(N)) and the first Chancellor and first IMO Secretary General, to hold an MSc degree from the University. Mr. Lim remarked that the WMU graduation ceremony is “one of the most important events in the world maritime community...I have no hesitation to state that graduating from WMU was the foundation of my future career, and was one of the most important occasions in my life.” Mr. Lim went on to highlight the important role WMU graduates play at IMO and in the global maritime community and the important role WMU plays in opening dialogue and closing the gap between countries of different economic development.
Malmö Mayor and Chairman of the City Council, Mr. Kent Andersson, who also serves as a WMU Governor, addressed the gathering noting the transformation of Malmö from a traditionally Swedish industrial centre to a sustainably-oriented international city focused on education. Chairman Andersson remarked on the significance of WMU as it continues to transform the maritime sector with increased global influence through over 4,000 graduates, many of whose lives changed dramatically thanks to their opportunity to study at WMU. Chairman Andersson further noted that the historic Harbour Master’s Building has been returned to a maritime use as the new home of the University which is “not only of importance to the people of Malmö and Sweden, but to the entire world as WMU offers relevant and forward-looking programmes that address the UN 2030 Global Goals.”
In the graduation address, Chancellor Sekimizu remarked that the University has entered a new era with significant milestones over the past two years including the celebration of the 30thanniversary of the University in 2013. Further, in the same year, IMO Council approved to launch a study on the sustainability of the University. Milestones in 2015 noted by the Chancellor included this year’s World Maritime Day theme of Maritime Education & Training, the appointment of Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry as President, inauguration of the new campus, and completion of the sustainability study report on WMU which was presented to IMO Council and has provided new strategic directions for the University including the creation of an endowment fund to ensure the future of WMU. Chancellor Sekimizu emphasized the prominent reputation of WMU highlighting the result of the election of WMU alumnus, Mr. Ki-tack LIM, as Secretary-General as well as the multiple candidates who were WMU alumni, “this a clear testament of the value of the university as an institution for generating future leaders in the maritime community.” In addressing the graduates, Chancellor Sekimizu put forth five points to strive for including discipline, having the courage to do the right thing and rely on your own judgment, always aiming for the top, being ambitious for the sake of others rather than your own aggrandizement, and remembering that that ethics and morals are the most important qualification for any leader, as well as the ability to work with people.
Before the conferring of degrees on the graduates, Mr. Sekimizu conferred the degree of Doctor of Science in Maritime Affairs, honoris causa on Dr. Darrell Fisher for his exceptional service to the University from 1993 to 2014 as a Visiting Professor. Throughout his years at WMU, Dr. Fisher taught courses focused on maritime education and training, particularly the evaluation of teaching and curricula for maritime instructors. Additional honorary awards included the award of Honorary Professor to Dr. Alastair Couper for his distinguished and outstanding service to WMU, and the award of Outstanding Alumnus was made to Captain Suat Hayri Aka for his outstanding service to the maritime community.
The final address was made by Ms. Hyun Lee of the Republic of Korea, President of the Student Council. In particular Ms. Lee noted the influence that WMU has on its graduates by exemplifying the spirit of the United Nations, “our cultural diversity became our strength over the last 14 months. Within our different backgrounds, we learned how to live in harmony and with mutual respect…students form 39 countries became one WMU family.”
During the ceremony, the annual student awards were announced:
The Chancellor's Medal for Academic Excellence (Malmö): Mr. Mukund Gujar, India - Sasakawa Fellow
Chancellor's Medal (Dalian): Mr. Yanze Sun, China
Chancellor's Medal (Shanghai): Mr. Amit Sanwal, India
C. P. Srivastava Award for International Fellowship: Ms. Maki Tominaga, Japan - Sasakawa Fellow
Pierre Léonard Prize for the Best Female Student: Ms. Philippa Reid, South Africa
Lloyd’s Maritime Academy Prize: Mr. Anton Kulchytskyy, Ukraine
Lloyd´s Maritime Academy Dissertation Prize: Ms. Fatoumatta Cassama, Gambia
This year’s graduation ceremony brings the number of WMU graduates to 4,116 from 166 countries.
Maia Brindley Nilsson
World Maritime University