"We’ll get through this together!" – 38th Session of WMU Board of Governors meets online

In these challenging times, the maritime and oceans community will need WMU more than ever before. The WMU Board of Governors met online on 11 May 2020, and pledged their support for the University. 

The 38th session of the WMU Board ofGovernors met by video-conferencing on 11 May 2020. The annual session took place remotely due to the travel restrictions necessitated by the current pandemic of COVID-19.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and a challenge for us all. As with previous challenges, we will succeed in overcoming this one too," said Mr. Kitack Lim, the IMO Secretary‑General and WMU Chancellor, "WMU is making every effort to ensure it continues to function at a high level using innovative modes to deliver its high-quality education. After a period of initial adjustment, we are all settling into new ways of working."

The members of the Board of Governors wholeheartedly supported the University in its decision to remain open for business and to work smartly and innovatively. "WMU must ensure that our world-class maritime and oceans education, research and capacity building continue to be delivered," said Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU.

There was a very high attendance at the session, with 32 of the 34 members able to take part via video-conference. The University was delighted that seven of the 32 members attending the session are graduates of the University: Mr. Kitack Lim, the WMU Chancellor; H.E. Ambassador Dwight Gardiner (Antigua and Barbuda); Commandant Sajid Hussein (Bangladesh), Mr. Young-Moo Kim (Republic of Korea); Captain Jorge Imhoff Leyton (Chile); H.E. Binali Yildirim (former Prime Minister of Turkey); and Mr. Xiaojie Zhang (Chair of IMO Council, People’s Republic of China).

"This session of the Board of Governors clearly reflects the outstanding professional achievements of WMU graduates around the world," noted Dr. Doumbia-Henry. "These achievements continue to inspire the new and future generations of WMU students."

Much attention during the session was focused on WMU’s Stewards of the Sea Campaign, the resource mobilization modality in support of WMU’s Endowment Fund, which was established to support the long-term sustainability of the University. The Governors expressed particular gratitude to the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, whose trail-blazing donation of €1 million served as a spur for further substantial donations from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the Government of Saudi Arabia, Philippine Trans-Marine Carriers, Inc. and the Government of Ghana. "Donations to the WMU Endowment Fund are a means of underpinning WMU’s continuing success," said Dr. Doumbia-Henry. "They are also a firm demonstration of the donors’ belief in and commitment to our work." This support complements the funding of WMU’s major donors: Sweden, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Germany,Canada and the ITF. Major fellowship funders include The Nippon Foundation, the IMO Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme, Norway, Nigeria, ITF, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Germany, the Republic of Korea, TK Foundation, Australia, the Orient’s Fond, Stena Rederi AB and China.

Great attention was also paid to the University’s continuing response to the pandemic of COVID‑19, and the steps taken to ensure the delivery of the programmes while keeping students and staff safe. "Continuing to ensure academic excellence, as well as to inspire leadership and innovation for a sustainable maritime and oceans future is essential, particularly during these challenging times," Mr. Lim stated. He added: "The global community needs institutions like the World Maritime University more than ever before. Maritime and oceans education, research and capacity building are needed to continue to address the challenges including meeting the target of GHG emissions reduction while responding to COVID-19."

During the session, the Board of Governors considered and deliberated on 15 items with 37 documents on its agenda, including 23 substantive documents that were considered via correspondence in advance of the meeting. The items discussed included a report from the President of the University indicating the progress made since the last Board session in 2019, the 2019 Annual Report of the University, a new Vision Statement, the implications and impact of COVID-19 for the University, the University Strategic Plan for the period 2020-2023, the Business Plan 2020-2021, financial matters including the Financial Outcome for 2019, the Trending Budget for 2020 and the Initial Budget for 2021. The Board also considered among others, the report of the External Auditor for the financial period 2019, Human Resource matters, the Academic Agenda WMU@50, the Maritime Research Agenda, the Ocean Research Agenda and the Outreach programme update.

In thanking the IMO Secretary-General and WMU Chancellor, Mr. Kitack Lim, as well as all the members of the Board, Dr. Doumbia-Henry highlighted: "The dedication, engagement and support of the Board Members will enable the University to continue to chart the course for a sustainable maritime and oceans future. We take extremely seriously our responsibilities to assist countries around the world both now, and in the rebuilding that we will need to undertake when this pandemic is finally extinguished."  

The Board is composed of 34 members and is responsible for the governance and general oversight of the University. They are senior-level professionals coming from 29 countries and organizations from around the world with a wide range of expertise in the maritime and oceans fields, including senior government representatives and career diplomats, industry leaders and senior maritime academics.


The Mission of the World Maritime University is: "To be the world centre of excellence in postgraduate maritime and oceans education, professional training and research, while building global capacity and promoting sustainable development".

Its Vision is: "To inspire leadership and innovation for a sustainable maritime and oceans future".

For a complete list of the WMU Board of Governors membership, please visit https://www.wmu.se/about/board-of-governors.

Participants in the WMU Board of Governors 38th Session.
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