President Doumbia-Henry Speaks in Lebanon and Signs MoU with Ministry of Public Works and Transport

On 19 June, WMU President, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, delivered a keynote address at the East Med Maritime Conference, which took place in Beirut, Lebanon, from 19-20 June 2019.

The Conference was held under the patronage of Lebanese Prime Minister Mr Saad Hariri. Inaugurated by the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr Youssef Fenianos, the conference highlighted the latest developments in the shipping, maritime, and offshore industries that are present and emerging, in the Eastern Mediterranean region. It also provided a premier interdisciplinary forum for the region’s maritime training professionals and community to present the most recent innovations, trends, challenges and recommended solutions. 

HE Youssef Fenianos, Minister of Public Works and Transport and Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU

In her keynote address, President Doumbia-Henry emphasized that despite challenges in the region, particularly in the maritime waters of the Middle East, the sea offers opportunities and promises. She referred to the key role that WMU plays in maritime and ocean capacity-building stating, “WMU should be seen as a partner for the countries in the region enabling them to put in place and/or support the development or review of their maritime strategies. We can also assist governments, parastatals and the private sector to better harness the potential offered by the ocean resources for the benefit of their economies, people and the marine environment.” 

President Doumbia-Henry also highlighted that WMU is a unique university established by the International Maritime Organization as the lead international postgraduate education and research institution and a centre of excellence for the promotion and advancement of shipping and related fields, including the improvement of maritime safety and security, the protection of the marine environment, the efficiency of international shipping and other marine and related ocean issues, in furtherance of the purposes and objectives of the United Nations system for the betterment of maritime capacities around the world. She stated, “WMU is the ‘go-to’ place for building and enhancing the skills and technical know-how that are needed anywhere and at anytime for the improvement and revitalisation of shipping, port, coastal and offshore projects, whether in terms of infrastructure or operations.”

Countries in or near the eastern Mediterranean have benefited from WMU’s programmes. The current numbers of graduates from those countries include:

  • Lebanon: 6 graduates
  • Syria: 3 graduates
  • Cyprus: 19 graduates
  • Jordan: 20 graduates
  • Egypt: 65 graduates
  • Turkey: 45 graduates
  • Greece: 57 graduates

Together, these graduates form 4.2% of WMU’s total of 4,919 graduates from 168 countries around the world. 

While in Beirut, President Doumbia-Henry and HE Youssef Fenianos, Minister of Public Works and Transport, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between WMU and the Ministry. The MoU includes provision for one fellowship to be funded annually by the Ministry for a candidate to study in the Malmö Msc programme. The MoU further supports maritime and ocean capacity building in Lebanon through promoting the participation of Ministry staff members and individuals within the Lebanese maritime industry to participate in WMU postgraduate diploma distance learning programmes as well as the possibility for WMU to provide customized professional development courses for the Ministry. 

Minister Fenianos welcomed the signing of the MOU noting that he looks forward to further cooperation with WMU in the area of maritime education and training which would strengthen the maritime sector in Lebanon as well as enhance safety and security at sea. He thanked President Doumbia-Henry for extending assistance to Lebanon, adding that WMU’s achievements are “engraved in golden letters in the Ministry’s books.”

During the visit to Lebanon, President Doumbia-Henry visited the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), in Kaslik, Lebanon, where she was received by its President, Fr. Dr. Talal Hachem. A High-level Colloquium entitled “Maritime and Marine Governance in Lebanon: Taking Stock for Action” was hosted at USEK on that day and President Doumbia-Henry participated as a keynote speaker. In her address, she explained the role of WMU and provided the perspective of the international maritime community on ways to build maritime capacity in Lebanon.

President Doumbia-Henry also had the opportunity to visit a number of maritime vocational centres during her mission to Lebanon, including the newly built Maritime Science and Technology Institute (MARSATI) at Batroun as well as the International Maritime Academy at Jounieh. She was accompanied on the visit to Lebanon by WMU Associate Professor Aref Fakhry.

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