WMU Graduation Ceremony 2021

Photo credit: Leo Erdfelt

On 31 October, graduates from the Master of Science in Maritime Affairs and the PhD programme participated in the Class of 2021 graduation ceremony that was held in Malmö, Sweden. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was held without guests and was live streamed for family, friends and colleagues who joined in the celebration. The Class of 2021 have received the education required to contribute to their countries relating to maritime and ocean matters and more broadly to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Overall, the 2021 WMU graduation ceremonies bring the total number of graduates to 5,632 from 171 countries.

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. He highlighted the strength of the interdisciplinary studies offered at WMU that ensure the graduates are well-rounded, informed, intelligent individuals, with a holistic approach to maritime and oceans issues. Addressing the graduates directly he said, “Together, you form a mighty international network, and a great force for good in the world. You are the next generation of maritime leaders. You have been equipped to work in the international maritime community and its success rests on your shoulders. Do not forget that it will be our concerted efforts that will ensure that our beautiful oceans are passed on to future generations.”

WMU President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, delivered welcome remarks. In addressing the graduates, she highlighted that the Malmö Class of 2021 had completed their degrees wholly during the time of COVID-19. “You have risen above the challenges and circumstances faced during this pandemic. You have been strengthened by the education you have received and have magnificently achieved what you have set out to accomplish. Your studies will contribute to your strength of character and determination over the decades to come,” she said. She emphasized the important role the graduates will play in rebuilding after the pandemic, to build a cleaner, greener world, with low and zero carbon emissions from ships and ports. She added, “The oceans are a precious resource: make sure you do your best to protect them.” She also called on the graduates to fight for a world with greater gender equality, and to play their part in empowering women and girls.

The Guest of Honour was H.E. Dr. Daniel Seong-Hyeok Moon, Minister for the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) of the Republic of Korea, and WMU Professor (leave of absence). In a pre-recorded address, he stated that graduating from WMU is a great achievement in normal circumstances, and an even greater achievement during the pandemic. He encouraged the graduates to be lifelong learners, and to strive to be good leaders. He highlighted the diversity and strength of WMU saying, “WMU is a place where talented people from all over the world gather and become friends. Through those friendships, they contribute to the harmony of the world and human prosperity. One person alone cannot change the world. However, if we all try to understand each other without prejudice, and build friendships, we will be able to wisely overcome the crises faced by mankind and contribute to the common prosperity.”

Ms Carina Nilsson, Chairperson of the Malmö City Council and Mayor of Malmö addressed the graduates saying, “The pandemic taught us that the world can shift very quickly, but also that we are also very adaptable.” The Mayor stated that the City of Malmö is proud to host the University, which is the only United Nations affiliated institution in Sweden. She emphasized that both the City of Malmö and WMU are committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and share exceptionally international profiles with Malmö having residents from over 180 countries, and WMU graduates from 171 countries. She expressed the hope that the graduates had enjoyed their time in Sweden and would be good ambassadors for Malmö on return to their home countries. She wished them well saying, “Today this part of your journey is coming to an end. You are about to start your next chapter in life with the whole world as your potential workplace.”

Mr Daniel John Joseph Arulanthu (India), President of the Student Council 2020-2021, made remarks on behalf of the Class of 2021. He thanked the City of Malmö, donors, WMU faculty and staff, and family and friends for their support. He said, “Donors from around the world have made a significant difference in the lives of students from around the world. Thank you for the priceless opportunity to study in a world class institution dedicated to improving the maritime industries’ capacity, and to be future maritime leaders. We are honoured to be part of such a unique entity. We will work hard to maintain our network of  friendships, regardless of where we are physically located.”

Regarding the annual student awards, the Chancellor's Medal for Academic Excellence for the MSc in Maritime Affairs 2021 in Malmö was awarded to Mr Nguyen Hoang Vuong (Vietnam). The C P Srivastava Award for International Fellowship was awarded to Ms Laura Noelia Sanchez (Argentina). Mr Nadhir Kahlouche (Algeria) received the Secretary-General’s Prize for the best dissertation. Mr Aymen Abdaoui (Tunisia) received the Schlüter Foundation Dissertation Prize for an outstanding dissertation in the field of Shipping and Marine Environmental Protection. The Lloyd’s Maritime Academy Dissertation Prize was awarded to Mr Jeric Bacasdoon (Philippines).

Recipients of the Kalmar Prizes, awarded by Kalmar Global to students who are recognized as leaders among their peers, included: Mr Christopher Nii Aflah Armah (Ghana), Mr Jeric Bacasdoon (Philippines), Ms Carlita Selicia Benjamin (Dominica), Mr Epimachus Mulisa Burchard (Tanzania), Ms Hnin Oo Wai (Myanmar), Ms Fatoumatta K. Jatta (Gambia), Ms Laura Noelia Sanchez (Argentina), Mr Ngouye Sougoufara (Senegal), and Ms Sedigheh Zarei (Iran).

To access photos from the ceremony, click here.

Additional WMU Graduation Ceremonies in 2021
The first WMU graduation ceremony of 2021 took place on 5 September for 35 graduates in WMU’s MSc in Maritime Affairs with a specialization in Maritime Safety and Environmental Management (MSEM) offered in cooperation with Dalian Maritime University in Dalian, China. The Chancellor's Medal for Academic Excellence was awarded to Zhimin Zhang (China). Graduation for 28 students in the MSc in Maritime Affairs with a specialization in International Transport and Logistics (Shipping & Finance) (ITL) offered in cooperation with Shanghai Maritime University took place in Shanghai, China on 19 September. The Chancellor's Medal for Academic Excellence was awarded to Yirui Qiao (China). The final graduation ceremony of 2021 took place on 4 November for graduates in the distance learning programmes that included 79 students from 31 countries.

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