WMU Graduation Ceremony 2018
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On Sunday, 4 November, the maritime leaders of tomorrow from over 70 countries graduated from the World Maritime University (WMU). The graduates have received the education required to contribute to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in their home countries as well as within the broader maritime and ocean community. They are equipped to become the maritime and ocean leaders of tomorrow that will promote safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping on clean oceans.
The graduating Class of 2018 is one of the largest to date and includes 267 Graduates from 71 countries. A third of the graduates are women. The Class of 2018 is composed of 124 MSc graduates from the Malmö headquarters, 58 graduates from the China programme, making a total number of 182 MSc graduates in 2018; two PhD graduates; and 83 graduates from the distance learning programmes including 14 LLM graduates. The 2018 graduation ceremony brings the total number of WMU graduates to 4,919 from 168 countries.
WMU President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, delivered welcome remarks noting that 2018 is the 35th anniversary of WMU, and the 70th anniversary of the University’s parent institution, the International Maritime Organization. The President thanked the City of Malmö and the Government of Sweden for their continued generosity and support in hosting the University, as well as the many donors for their ongoing commitment to the WMU mission and its sustainability. Noting highlights from the academic year, the President referred to the ongoing commitment of WMU to the UN SDGs, the inauguration of the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, and the successful WMU Global Ocean Conference. Further, she referred to the advancement of the WMU Research Agenda and expansion of WMU publications that extend the University’s global outreach and service to the maritime and ocean community. The President also announced “The WMU-Koji Sekimizu PhD Fellowship” to be funded by former Chancellor Koji Sekimizu and the Government of Singapore on “Maritime Governance”, as well as the SwAM-German Government PhD and Post-Doc fellowships for ocean research that will be funded by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) and Germany.
In addressing the graduates, President Doumbia-Henry called on them to return to their home countries and activate national alumni groups to foster the power of the global WMU network. With the knowledge and capacities gained at WMU, each graduate has the capacity to help build the maritime, ports and ocean sectors of the economy in their home countries. She stated “The transformative power of your experience has developed your knowledge, critical thinking skills, and enlightened you in innumerable ways. Your WMU experience has expanded your horizons, your professional network and enriched you personally in ways that you may only fully appreciate as you advance in your career. You will go on to change the world.”
Mr Kitack Lim, the first International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General and WMU Chancellor to hold a MSc degree from WMU, conferred the degrees on the graduates. He reflected on his own WMU experience noting it is a privilege to study at WMU in programmes designed to meet the maritime industry’s need for highly trained and specialized professionals. “From today, each one of you will join an elite group of maritime professionals in the global industry that has shaped the modern world. WMU has provided you with the key tools to succeed in making a difference in the global maritime industry,” he stated. Mr Lim also announced that all current and future Malmö students will be provided with free access to the IMO searchable database of all IMO Conventions and key Instruments.
The Guest of Honour was Dr. Anders Wijkman, Co-President of the Club of Rome. He highlighted the active contribution the graduates will make to the achievement of the UN SDGs by 2030 and emphasized that the inherent challenges could only be addressed successfully through working together. Despite the current political climate, he maintained that pessimism is not an option stating, “We need to focus on the challenges and believe in the opportunities to bring about change. We have the knowledge. We have the technologies. It is often the will that is lacking.” He continued, “Each of you here today is likely to be in the position to influence decision-making...You will be on the forefront of the battle to save our oceans.”
Representing WMU’s host city of Malmö, the Mayor and Chairperson of the Malmö City Executive Board, Ms. Katrin Stjernfeldt-Jammeh, remarked that Malmö is the most diverse city in Sweden, making it a perfect home for WMU. In addition, the UN SDGs are guiding stars for both WMU, and the CIty of Malmö. “You have the latest knowledge and the whole world as your field of work...You are the future leaders within the maritime field and we have very high expectations for all of you,” she stated.
Honorary awards made during the ceremony included the award of Doctor of Science, honoris causa to Ms Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and International Development Cooperation and Climate, in recognition of her outstanding work and deep commitment to safeguarding the future of the world’s oceans. In her remarks, Ms Lövin spoke of “the great murder mystery of the Silent Seas”. She noted that we are all responsible for their degradation, and that we all now have a responsibility to safeguard them. She stated, ”We can’t just go on with business as usual. We have to rethink how we are acting because our oceans aren’t limitless. They are, in fact, finite.”
Mr Abud Jamal Said, President of the Student Council, also addressed the gathering and to his classmates, in particular, he stated, “I urge us all to embrace unity in diversity, and not only maintain the friendships we created throughout our studies, but to improve on our networking for advancement of the international maritime agendas and development.”
Additional awards made during the ceremony included:
As the graduates accepted their diplomas on stage, the Award for the 1000th female graduate was made to Ms Naandem Rita Njin from Nigeria. With this graduation ceremony, there are 1,029 female WMU graduates. Women represent 21% of all WMU graduates, of which 18% were enrolled in the MSc programmes.
Special 35th Anniversary awards were made to the City of Malmö for their ongoing support since the University was founded in 1983, and to the Royal Fire Brigade Band that annually provides the music for the WMU Graduation Ceremony.
Dr. Olof Lindén was awarded Professor Emeritus in recognition of his service to WMU as a Professor for almost fifteen years, as holder of The Nippon Foundation Chair in Marine Environmental Management, and as head of the Marine Environment and Ocean Management specialization and as Director of Research and the Doctoral Programme.
Mr Michael Ircha was awarded Honorary Professor in recognition of his service to WMU as a Visiting Professor for twenty years, and supporting and mentoring generations of WMU students, both in Malmö and in Shanghai, in his specialist field of ports and logistics.
Mr Patrick Donner was awarded Honorary Professor in recognition of his service to WMU as Associate Academic Dean for 10 years and as Associate Professor for 22 years, and for his support and mentoring generations of WMU students, both resident and by distance learning, in his specialist fields of maritime law and marine insurance.
Mr Gary Crook was awarded Honorary Fellow in recognition of his service to WMU as a Visiting Professor for over twenty years, and supporting and mentoring generations of WMU students, both in Malmö and in Shanghai, in his specialist field of ports and logistics.
Mr Fidel Reyes Melendez was awarded Honorary Fellow in recognition of his service as a member of WMU’s Board of Governors since 2015, his support of WMU through his role as Director of the International Office at Peru’s DICAPI, and his personal support and work for the WMU Regional Conference for the Americas in 2017.
Mr Iván Valenzuela Bosne was awarded Outstanding Alumnus in recognition of his lengthy service as a Visiting Professor at WMU, as an active member of the Board of Governors since 2012, and having served with great distinction as Director of Maritime Safety, Security and Operations in DIRECTEMAR, Chile's maritime administration.
Regarding the annual student awards, the Chancellor's Medal for Academic Excellence for the MSc in Maritime Affairs 2018 in Malmö was awarded to Mr Banshidhar Singh from India, for the Dalian MSc Programme to Ms Jiao Lei from China, and for the Shanghai MSc Programme to Mr Xu Dong from China. The Pierre Léonard Prize for the Best Female Student was awarded to Ms Meriam Chaal from Tunisia. The C P Srivastava Award for International Fellowship was awarded to Mr John Paul Riinasau Fiomeai from the Solomon Islands. Mr Nawin Ranjan Sharma from India received the Lloyd´s Maritime Academy Dissertation Prize and the Lloyd’s Maritime Academy Distance Learning Prize was awarded to Mr Scott Oaks from the United Kingdom. Ms Egilla Mkawuganga of Kenya received the Busan Port Authority Award.