Class of 2021 Inauguration, Malmö
Inauguration of the World Maritime University’s (WMU) Class of 2021 MSc in Maritime Affairs, took place on 14 September in the Sasakawa Auditorium. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 51 students have arrived in Malmö to date, nine of whom have completed a 14-day self-isolation period and were in attendance physically. The remaining students who are still in the process of self-isolating, or who have yet to be able to travel to Malmö, joined via video conferencing.
The Guest Speaker was the Honourable Senator Dr Claudia Schilling, Minister of Science and Port of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. She was accompanied by Dr. Iven Krämer, Head, Division for Port Economy, Infrastructure and Shipping, Ministry of Science and Ports of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. A limited number of students from the Class of 2020 and WMU faculty and staff were also in attendance.
In her welcome remarks, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU, noted the challenging times with the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For this new academic year, 106 students from 48 countries are enrolled in the 14-month programme, despite the pandemic. “On behalf of the University, I express appreciation for the overwhelming commitment from WMU’s global network of donors and friends who have continued their support despite the current global challenges. They recognize the important role that WMU plays in educating the maritime leaders of tomorrow, and the invaluable role our alumni play in advancing the maritime industry which is the backbone of the global economy with over 80 percent of world trade served by shipping” said President Doumbia-Henry.
Senator Schilling spoke of the effect the pandemic is having on the entire maritime economy, yet the maritime supply chain remains efficient. She maintained that post-pandemic, sea ports will remain key parts of logistics chains that provide vital links between industries, their market, and supply sources. “As a globally recognized educational institution, the World Maritime University will prepare you for the challenges of digitalization and automation,” she said.
Closing remarks were made by Professor Jens-Uwe Schröder-Hinrichs, WMU Vice President (Academic Affairs). He emphasized the diversity of the incoming class of students with 47 from Africa, 40 from Asia, 8 from Latin American and the Caribbean, 5 from Europe, 4 from Oceania, and 2 from North America. “There are not many universities in the world who have such a unique mix of different nationalities in their programme. This is a very special feature of WMU and represents the true spirit of the United Nations,” he said.
After the inauguration, Senator Schilling and Dr. Krämer had the opportunity to meet with four students in the Class of 2020 who are currently sponsored by Germany. The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has supported WMU for many years. As the second largest provider of fellowships, the Federal Government and partners in the German maritime industry have supported more than 300 students, including the Class of 2021. Among the maritime leaders financed by Germany to study at WMU is Mr. Kitack Lim, the current Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization.
The World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden is established within the framework of the International Maritime Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations. The mission of WMU is to be the world centre of excellence in postgraduate maritime and oceans education, professional training and research, while building global capacity and promoting sustainable development. WMU is an organization by and for the international maritime community and is committed to the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.