Shipping in a Changing World - Friends of WMU Germany Seminar

The second annual Friends of WMU Germany seminar took place on 5 October with the topic of Shipping in a Changing World - How Can We Collaborate in the Future? The seminar was presented to WMU students and faculty in the Sasakawa Auditorium and was moderated by Mr Reinhard Klingen, Member of the WMU Board of Governors and Chair of the Friends of WMU Germany. 

In her welcome remarks, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU, thanked the German Friends of WMU for their support of the University. In addition to fellowships for students, she highlighted the support from Germany in providing guest lecturers, and the many German organizations that welcome WMU students annually for field studies. In particular, she noted an academic partnership with the German shipping company NSB which offers internship opportunities for select WMU students in the process of their MSc dissertations. 

The seminar featured a presentation on “German Shipping and the Challenge of Attracting Young Maritime Talent,” by Dr Gaby Bornheim, President of the German Shipowners’ Association. Dr Bornheim presented the current state of German shipping from economic effects on shipping companies, to the development in the merchant fleet and to the flag structure. Regarding seafarers in German shipping, she presented the numbers of German and foreign employees as well as their respective distribution among the various roles onboard. She emphasized the need to attract a new generation to shipping as well as more women to the seafaring professions to support the future of shipping in Germany, and in the industry as a whole. “We need a joint effort with companies, social partners, educational institutions and relevant policies to keep maritime professions attractive for the next generation and to maintain the maritime know-how in the country,” she said.

A panel discussion and short presentations followed featuring remarks from Ambassador Nancy Karigithu, Principal Secretary of the State Department for Shipping & Maritime of Kenya, Dr. Jean Ver Pia (WMU Alumnus 2003), Maritime Attache for the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Kingdom, and Ms. Maria Gelin, Deputy Director-General and Head of Division Transport Markets for Sweden’s Ministry of Infrastructure. A key thread among the speakers included the importance of meaningful partnerships, with real goals and aims that capitalize on collaboration to address the current challenges to the shipping industry, particularly with respect to decarbonization and the importance of attracting a new generation of maritime professionals.

The delegation from the German Friends of WMU included Professor Max Johns, Vice Chairperson of the WMU Executive Board, Dr. Axel Henriksen of Henriksen Law, Mr. Schliepköther of Duisport, and Mr. Frank Leonhardt of Leonhardt & Blumberg. Prior to the seminar, the delegation met with students in the Class of 2022 and 2023 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. 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.

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