President Reports to the IMO Assembly, 2019

On 1 December, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU, addressed the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly to report on the activities of the University. In 2019, IMO Assembly was held from 25 November to 4 December. All 174 Member States and three Associate Members are entitled to attend the Assembly.

In her remarks, President Doumbia-Henry highlighted the accomplishments of the University during the biennium including continued strong enrolment in the Master’s programme offered in Malmö as well as at the Dalian and Shanghai campuses in China, the PhD programme, and the distance learning programmes. The President noted that with the recent graduation of the Class of 2019, there are now 5,156 WMU alumni from 170 countries, of which 1,107 are women.  

The President noted the operationalization of the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute in 2018 with the support of The Nippon Foundation. The Institute is furthering WMU’s important contribution to the implementation of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5 and 14, regarding education, gender and the conservation and sustainable use of the marine resources. As part of WMU, the Institute serves as an independent focal point for the ocean science-policy-law-industry interface, acting as a convener and convergence point where policymakers, the scientific community, regulators, industry actors, academics and representatives of civil society meet to discuss how best to manage and use ocean spaces and their resources for the sustainable development of present and future generations.

President Doumbia-Henry reported on the prioritization of the research agenda in the WMU Strategic Plan 2016-2019 and the implementation of the WMU Maritime and Ocean Research Agendas in the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, the EU-funded projects, with funding totaling almost €1.1 million, have already been secured.

The President reported that the University is financially healthy with an increase in reserves funds and its Endowment Fund is growing from voluntary financial contributions. She thanked the Government of Sweden and the City of Malmö for their continued commitment and generosity to the University and also extended this appreciation to all donors and fellowship contributors, governments and organizations, including The Nippon Foundation, the Governments of Canada and Norway, the Republic of Korea, Inmarsat, the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the IMO. “Continued support of donors is indispensable to the University's long-term sustainability and to the ongoing provision of its research and capacity‑building training services for the benefit of the global maritime community,” she said.

The President announced that WMU will host the first Alumni Homecoming Conference entitled "WMU 2020: Building Global Maritime and Ocean Capacity for Sustainable Development" from 10 to 12 June 2020. “We are grateful for the continued support from Member States and the industry to enable the WMU alumni to have the opportunity not only to look back at the contributions they have made over the past 37 years but importantly to engage with their Alma Mater to help steer it to the next level with an even greater impact,” she said.

Reporting on WMU in the biennium, IMO Secretary-General and WMU Chancellor, Mr. Kitack Lim, said, “The World Maritime University is a world class maritime training institution and plays a vital role in supporting IMO's capacity-building goals. WMU graduates have the capabilities and transformative powers to guarantee the sustainable future of our planet; and I am very pleased to see an increasing number of high-level female students graduating from this prestigious institution.”

Mr. Lim thanked President Doumbia-Henry and the WMU management team for their ongoing efforts to expand the academic and research activities of the University that in turn provide additional revenue. He informed that Mr. Torben Skaanild had retired from his position as Chair of the WMU Executive Board in July after more than 8 years of distinguished service and that Mr. Gerardo Borromeo has been appointed as the new Chair.

Mr. Lim expressed appreciation to the Government of Sweden and the City of Malmö for hosting the University and for their generosity in providing WMU with outstanding premises. Further, he thanked all donors and sponsors that help to ensure the financial sustainability of the University with their contributions and “enable it to provide an excellent internationally recognised service and to make a positive impact on the lives of people all over the world.“
In closing, Mr. Lim requested that the IMO membership, the industry and those having an interest in maritime transport and ocean affairs, respond positively to resolution A.1031(26) on Sustainable financial support for the World Maritime University and to support the University in any way they can.

On 4 December, the Assembly confirmed the re-election of Mr. Kitack Lim as Secretary-General of the IMO. Mr. Lim is an alumnus of WMU (M.Sc. 1991 MSA(N)) and the first Chancellor as well as the first IMO Secretary General, to hold an MSc degree from the University. The Assembly also elected its new 40-member Council for the 2020-21 biennium.

Mr. Kitack Lim, the first WMU Chancellor as well as the first IMO Secretary General, to hold an MSc degree from the University, and Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU with WMU and IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) alumni at IMO Assembly 2019.

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