Contemporary Maritime and Ocean Matters - Friends of WMU Germany Annual Seminar
The third annual Friends of WMU Germany seminar took place on 24 October with the topic of Contemporary Maritime and Ocean Matters. The seminar was presented to WMU students and faculty in the Sasakawa Auditorium.
In welcome remarks, Professor Maximo Q. Mejia, Jr., President of WMU, thanked the Friends of WMU Germany for actively supporting the University. He said, “This network makes us stronger. We need this exchange with our global friends and supporters and the active exchange with one of the leading shipping nations in the world – the Federal Republic of Germany.”
In his opening remarks, Dr Axel Henriksen, Vice Chair of the Friends of WMU Germany, spoke of the importance of a strong, global maritime network, noting the inherently strong global network that is established through individuals who study at WMU. He framed the annual Friends of WMU Germany seminar as an opportunity to make German maritime stakeholders aware of the work of WMU and the fruitful cooperation that can result in the interest of the industry and the public sector, as well as in terms of education and research at WMU, including student dissertations as in the cooperation with NSB Group.
The seminar featured a special lecture on “Cooperation - A Key for Ocean Governance” by Professor Dr. Peter Ehlers, who was an active member of the WMU Board of Governors from 2011 to 2021 and was awarded a WMU Doctor of Science honoris causa in 2022. In his remarks, Dr Ehlers defined ocean governance as steering, controlling, and managing marine activities in accordance with the aim of achieving sustainable maritime development. As the seas are owned by no one, but are treated as common goods, he emphasized the importance of international cooperation in ocean governance. Particular points of cooperation he highlighted included improving knowledge, creating regulations, and implementation of global rules and standards. He maintained a holistic approach to ocean governance is essential. In addition to cooperation and actions of governments, civil society must be involved in the entire spectrum at the local, national, regional and global level, and marine science institutions must be able to provide profound knowledge about the oceans to inform appropriate decisions.
Presentations followed by WMU faculty members regarding key WMU research projects. Assistant Professor Khanssa Lagdami provided a broad overview of WMU’s research on the Future of Work programme, including the Phase 1 report launched in 2019 that focused on the most significant global trends in automation and technology affecting transport workers, and the Phase 2, 2023 report focused on the impact of technology on seafarers. Associate Professor Fabio Ballini followed with a presentation regarding contemporary issues in Maritime Energy Management (MEM), highlighting WMU’s work related to MEM including research, collaboration with IMO, and the impact of the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy on ports.
In addition to Dr Henriksen and Professor Ehlers, the delegation from the German Friends of WMU included Mr Marc Müller from the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport, Mr. Frank Leonhardt of Leonhardt & Blumberg, Sara Vatankhah from the German Ship Safety Division and Wiebke Germer from the Jens-Peter and Betsy Schlüter Foundation for Shipping and Environmental Protection. Prior to the seminar, the delegation met with students in the Class of 2023 and 2024 who are currently sponsored by Germany, which includes a total of 10 students, five for each graduating class.
The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany is a long-term supporter of WMU. As the second largest provider of fellowships, the Federal Government and partners in the German maritime industry have funded the education of well over 300 WMU graduates from 78 countries. Among the maritime leaders financed by Germany to study at WMU is Mr. Kitack Lim, the current Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization.
To learn more about the Friends of WMU Germany, click here.