WMU Graduation Ceremony 2020

Maritime leaders of tomorrow from 79 countries have graduated from the World Maritime University (WMU) in the Class of 2020. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, four small graduation ceremonies were held at WMU over 31 October and 1 November to honour the graduates. They are now prepared to return home and promote safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping on clean oceans.

Graduates from the Malmö Master of Science in Maritime Affairs programme participated in the four ceremonies that were grouped by area of study. 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.

WMU President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, delivered welcome remarks at each of the four ceremonies. In addressing the graduates, she highlighted that the Class of 2020 will always be remembered for their strength and resilience in pursuing and completing their studies amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. She emphasized the important role the graduates will play in the rebuilding process saying, “We will all rely on you to lead the way into the future. You are the citizens of our globalized world. Its future is in your hands. You know and understand the benefits of sustained development, secure governance, the fight against climate change. You are ambassadors for the whole United Nations system, and the opinion formers who will work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Bring this knowledge to bear in the rebuilding process, so that your values are embedded in the new tomorrow.”

In a pre-recorded address, HE Mr Kitack Lim, the first International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General and WMU Chancellor to hold a MSc degree from WMU 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. From the perspective of being a WMU graduate himself, Mr Lim remarked that the WMU experience will have a profound impact on the lives of the graduates. He said, “I trust you to use your new expertise for the benefit of all of us, and that you will foster sustainable development in support of achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. When you are advising or representing your country, or when you are negotiating with international partners, you will rely on the education and training that you have received at the World Maritime University.”

The Guest of Honour was Ms Carina Nilsson, Chairperson of the Malmö City Council and Mayor of Malmö. In a pre-recorded address, the Mayor noted that the City is proud to host the University and emphasized the unique, shared partnership. “The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a guiding star for both the city of Malmö and for the World Maritime University. They are at the core of everything we do. We as a city work hard to ensure that our residents know that what happens globally impacts us here locally and also the reverse, what we do here has a direct impact on our surrounding world,” she said.

Mr Abas Yusuf, President of the Student Council 2019-2020, also addressed the gathering remarking on the challenges of studying during the pandemic, but emphasizing the bonds they have forged as a class, “Despite the challenges globally, we succeeded…. and this experience will live with us the rest of our lives.”

The graduating Class of 2020 includes 226 Graduates from 79 countries. Roughly a third of the graduates are women. The Class of 2020 is composed of 116 MSc graduates from the Malmö headquarters, and 46 graduates from the China programmes, making a total number of 161 MSc graduates in 2020; one PhD graduate; and 63 graduates from the distance learning programmes including 5 LLM graduates. A virtual ceremony for distance learning students will take place on 6 November. The 2020 graduation ceremonies bring the total number of WMU graduates to 5,392 from 170 countries.


Ms Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, in recognition of her outstanding service to the international and oceans community and the United Nations, at the highest level of national and international policy-making and multilateral negotiations. During her period of service from 2010 to 2016 as Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, she dedicated herself to the global climate change negotiating process and its outcome with fairness, transparency and collaboration.

Three Outstanding Alumnus Awards
The award of Outstanding Alumnus was made to His Excellency Ambassador Azfar bin Mohamad Mustafar of Malaysia. He received his MSc in Maritime Affairs in 2001, specializing in Maritime Administration, and his PhD degree in 2011. The award was  in recognition of his long and distinguished career in the service of the Government of Malaysia and his work to build international cooperation in maritime-related issues through constructive dialogue.

Mr Zhang Xiaojie of the People’s Republic of China, who received his MSc in Maritime Affairs specialising in Maritime Safety and Environmental Protection (Administration) in 1999, was granted the award of Outstanding Alumnus In recognition of his long and distinguished service to the international maritime community and most recently as Deputy Director-General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Transport, Government of the Republic of China since 2012, and as Chair of IMO Council since 2017.

The award of Outstanding Alumnus was made to Professor Nalaka Jayakody of Sri Lanka, who received his MSc in Maritime Affairs in 2001, specialising in Maritime Education and Training.This was in recognition of his long and distinguished service to the highest standards in maritime education, his devotion to the achievement of the vision of making Sri Lanka a maritime and knowledge hub for the region, and his concern for the welfare of seafarers.

Two Honorary Fellow Awards
The award of Honorary Fellow was made to Ms Maphefo Anno-Frempong of South Africa in recognition of her distinguished service to the maritime world as Chief Executive Officer of the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) of South Africa, her dedication to education as a force for building sustainable development, and her active and continuous support for the work of the University, including the sponsorship of 57 students and the support given relating to the recognition of WMU degrees by the South African government.

Mr Paul Sadler of the United Kingdom was awarded Honorary Fellow in recognition of his distinguished service to the maritime world, and in particular his 12 years as Accredited Representative at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the International Association of Classification Societies and his decade of contribution as a member of WMU’s Board of Governors.

Student Awards
Regarding the annual student awards, the Chancellor's Medal for Academic Excellence for the MSc in Maritime Affairs 2020 in Malmö was awarded to Mr Mohammed Aziem Rujub from South Africa. The C P Srivastava Award for International Fellowship was awarded to Mr Alexandros Atzas (Greece). Mohammed Mojahid Hossain Chowdhury from Bangladesh received the Secretary-General’s Prize for the best dissertation. Mr Ku Byungchurl, Republic of Korea received the Schlüter Foundation Dissertation Prize for an outstanding dissertation in the field of Shipping and Marine Environmental Protection. The Bureau International des Containeurs et du Transport Intermodal scholarships were awarded to Ms Margaret Aidoo Quarcoopome from Ghana and Mr Kwesi Saforo from Ghana.

Recipients of the Kalmar Prizes, awarded by Kalmar Global to students who are recognized as leaders among their peers, included: Mr Saidi Issa Mkwawa (Tanzania), Mr Mohammed Aziem Rujub (South Africa), Mr Bryan Singer Asturias (Guatemala), Mr Alexandros Atzas (Greece), Ms Cleopatra Cuevas (Belize), Mr Diogal Guays (Senegal), Ms Syntyche Haruna (Nigeria), Mr Hashim Bala Ibrahim (Nigeria), Mr Anish Joseph (India), and Ms Katina Benn (Guyana).

Additional WMU Graduation Ceremonies in 2020

The first WMU graduation ceremony of 2020 took place virtually in August, for 24 students in the MSc Programme in International Transport and Logistics (ITL) offered in cooperation with Shanghai Maritime University (SMU). A virtual graduation ceremony for 63 graduates in the distance learning programmes was held on 6 November. The final WMU graduation ceremony of 2020 was for 37 students in the MSc specialization in Maritime Safety and Environmental Management in cooperation with Dalian Maritime University (DMU) took place on 6 December. President Doumbia-Henry conferred the degrees on each graduating student, whether in person, or virtually.

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