WMU 30th Anniversary and 2013 Graduation
On Sunday, 24 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 2013. In total, 106 students graduated from the Malmö-based M.Sc. program in Maritime Affairs, and 28 from the distance-learning Postgraduate Diploma in Marine Insurance.
H.E. Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya, Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications of the Philippines, regrettably had to cancel his plans to speak at the graduation ceremony due to the still critical situation in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. Guests of Honor present included H.E. Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd, Minister of Infrastructure for Sweden, and Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., Commandant of United States Coast Guard, who both delivered speeches.
In his opening welcome, WMU President, Dr. Björn Kjerfve, noted the success of WMU over the past 30 years as the programs have expanded beyond the initial M.Sc. to include a Ph.D. program, two M.Sc. programs in China, professional development courses, distance learning, and international conferences. He noted the move that WMU will make to new facilities within the historic Tornhuset in central Malmö at the close of 2014, and thanked WMU’s host country of Sweden, and the City of Malmö, for their generosity. He emphasized that although the University is located in Sweden, it is a postgraduate, UN institution established under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization by, and for, the international maritime community. “WMU is literally the world’s maritime university,” he stated.
Minister Elmsäter-Svärd remarked upon the key role that mariners play in global trade noting that the sea has been connecting people long before mobile phones, and WMU represents “true diversity of the kind that is rare to find.” She noted that WMU was initially hosted in Malmö based on the Government of Sweden’s belief in developing and empowering people through education, research, and technology, and that Sweden continues to support the University based on those beliefs and the work of WMU over the past 30 years.
In his address to the graduates, Admiral Papp remarked upon the “common bond among those who make the sea their life’s work that transcends nationality and language.” He maintained that he and the graduates share the responsibility to advocate for maritime governance, and that by adhering to international conventions established by the IMO, many nations working together can make a difference in the safety and security of the seas globally.
Mr. Sekimizu addressed the graduates and commented on the number of WMU alumni that are active at IMO in a variety of roles such as members of staff, in working groups, and heading committees. He emphasized the unique connection between IMO and WMU that cannot be provided by any other institution in the world to support global maritime capacity building.
Before the conferring of degrees on the graduates, Mr. Sekimizu conferred the degree of Doctor of Science in Maritime Affairs, honoris causa on Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, WMU Chancellor Emeritus and former IMO Secretary-General, for his exceptional service to the University. In his remarks, Mr. Mitropoulos reflected on the founding of WMU in 1983 by Dr. C.P. Srivastava, KCMG, IMO Secretary-General Emeritus, and WMU Founding Chancellor Emeritus, who passed away not long after the official 30th anniversary of WMU took place on 4 July. Mr. Mitropoulos commented on the importance of shipping as the “greatest of all industries, and the one the world cannot do without.”
During the ceremony, the annual student awards were announced. The Chancellor's Medal for Academic Excellence for the M.Sc. in Maritime Affairs 2013 in Malmö was awarded to Analia Soledad Viggiano from Argentina, and for the Dalian M.Sc. Program to Yunjiang Liu from China, and for the Shanghai M.Sc. Program to Christos Masouridis from Greece. The Pierre Léonard Prize for the Best Female Student was awarded to Analia Soledad Viggiano from Argentina and Alina Prylipko from Ukraine received the Lloyd´s Maritime Academy Dissertation Prize. The Informa Law Dissertation Prize was awarded to Denis Musyoka Mulwa from Kenya, and the final award of the evening, the C. P. Srivastava Award for International Fellowship, was awarded to Azusa Fukasawa from Japan.
This graduation ceremony brings the number of WMU graduates to 3,663 from 165 countries. WMU alumni are in positions to have a tremendous impact on the global maritime sector and lead its development into the future. They hold senior 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.
Since 2013 marks WMU’s 30th Anniversary, a celebratory dinner was co-hosted by the City of Malmö in the Malmö Old City Hall the evening prior to the graduation ceremony. The event was attended by over 250 guests including dignitaries from around the globe, and several awards were presented. Four Honorary Fellow Awards for distinguished and outstanding service to WMU were made to Ilmar Reepalu, Former Chairman of the Malmö City Executive Board and Lord Mayor of Malmö, Nils Yngvesson, Former Chairman of the Malmö City Executive Board and Former Member of the Malmö City Council, Vice-Admiral Eisuke Kudo, Japan Coast Guard (Ret.), Special Adviser, Ocean Policy Research Foundation, and Michael Grey, international maritime writer and journalist.
Additional awards at the Anniversary Dinner included Outstanding Alumnus presented to Professor Magnus Addico of Ghana, President of the African Maritime Advisory Center and until 2012, Secretary-General of the Maritime Organisation for the West and Central Africa (MOWCA), a regional organization that unifies 25 on the West and Central African countries. The final awards of Professor Emeritus were made to Adjunct Professor Peter Muirhead, and Professor P.K. Mukherjee.