Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry Concludes 8-Year Term as WMU President

On 28 June, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry concluded her remarkable eight years as President of the World Maritime University (WMU). She leaves a lasting legacy of leadership and a wide range of accomplishments during her service to the University. 

H.E. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Chancellor of WMU said, "I would like to express my utmost appreciation and that of IMO for the hard work and dedication of Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, whose unwavering steadfastness and devotion to the University has guided WMU to great achievements and continuous successes."

Reflecting on her tenure as WMU President, Dr. Doumbia-Henry expressed gratitude for the unique opportunity to lead WMU and highlighted the collective efforts of the University faculty and staff in advancing the University. "I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together. It has been an honour to lead such a dedicated team, and I am deeply grateful for their unwavering support and commitment over the past eight years. I also thank the Chancellor, the Board of Governors, Executive Board, donors, faculty, staff, and of course the many students and alumni, for their enormous support during my tenure. It has been a tremendous honour, privilege, and highlight of my career to advance the mission of WMU towards securing a sustainable maritime and ocean future through excellence in education, research and global capacity building," she said.

Dr Maximo Q. Mejia Jr., who will assume the role of President on 29 June said, “After eight years of distinguished service, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry leaves a legacy of outstanding achievements. We are indebted to her service, passion, and dedication in advancing the University to even greater heights. I look forward to working together with my colleagues to build on these accomplishments in support of achieving a sustainable maritime industry and a brighter future for humanity, our oceans, and our planet.” 

Dr. Doumbia-Henry was appointed President of WMU by the IMO Secretary-General and began her first term in June 2015 with a reappointment in 2019. Under her dynamic leadership, WMU achieved unprecedented growth through a strategic approach and unwavering commitment that propelled the organization to new heights, strengthening its position as a global centre of excellence in maritime and ocean education, research and capacity-building.

During Dr. Doumbia-Henry’s tenure as President, WMU spearheaded numerous groundbreaking initiatives and achieved remarkable milestones resulting in significant institutional growth and recognition of the University globally. Among the many achievements, particularly noteworthy accomplishments include securing accreditation by the Government of Sweden for MSc and PhD degrees offered in Malmö, the introduction of new MSc specializations, establishment of the WMU- Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, increased financial contributions and the establishment of the Endowment Fund, attainment of a one-year reserve and annual budget increase, expanded donor portfolios, increased student enrolment, the inclusion of WMU Staff in the UN Pension Fund, provision of additional office facilities generously provided by the City of Malmö, and leading the University successfully through the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to these substantive achievements, Dr. Doumbia-Henry continued throughout her service to WMU to be a tireless advocate for the rights of seafarers, and led the University in publishing two major reports relating to the Transport 2040: The Future of Work project, generously funded by the International Transport Federation Workers’ Union. 

Dr. Doumbia-Henry’s wide-ranging accomplishments in the maritime sector led her to be selected for the Lloyd’s List Top 100 annual ranking of the most influential people in shipping, in 2021 and 2022.

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