WMU Graduation Ceremony 2022

On 31 October, the maritime leaders of tomorrow graduated from the World Maritime University (WMU). The Class of 2022 has received the education required to contribute to maritime and ocean matters in their home countries and more broadly to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Overall, the graduating class includes 276 graduates from 70 countries, and sets a record of 94 women graduates. 

WMU President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, delivered welcome remarks highlighting the return of the first “normal” graduation since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She congratulated the graduands and highlighted the importance of the WMU alumni network that will be particularly crucial in the years to come as there are only eight years left to achieve the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. “You will have battles to fight, you will need to be careful and strategic in accomplishing your goals. But, together you will be able to make change happen, and the world will be a better place, thanks to your efforts,” she said. 

The Guest of Honour was Mr Emanuele Grimaldi, President and Managing Director of Grimaldi Euromed and Chairperson of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). He spoke of the urgent and serious environmental issues and the responsibility of the entire shipping sector to demonstrate the ability to turn the tide in addressing decarbonization and contributing in a significant way to the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development. “Only a common global solution can solve a common global problem,” he said.

In his graduation 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 WMU’s interdisciplinary studies that result in well-rounded, informed, intelligent individuals, with a holistic approach to maritime and ocean subjects. He spoke of the deeply interconnected maritime world in which the graduates' paths would cross again with their classmates, predecessors, and successors. “Together, you join the mighty international network of WMU graduates, who are a great force for good in the world. You have been equipped to work as experts for the benefit of the international maritime community, and its future rests on your shoulders.,” he said.

On behalf of the City of Malmö, Ms Carina Nilsson, Mayor and Chairperson of Malmö City Council addressed the gathering and expressed pride in hosting the University emphasizing that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are guiding stars for both the City of Malmö and WMU. With over 180 different nationalities in Malmö, she noted that the City is often described as a young, modern and global city, the same characteristics that could be attributed to WMU students. 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 the future leaders of the maritime field, and the sky, or shall we say, the ocean, is the limit.” 

Professor Peter Ehlers was awarded Doctor of Science honoris causa. Professor Ehlers served as an active member of the WMU  Board of Governors from 2011 to 2021. He took part in WMU’s first application for accreditation, made to ZEvA in 2015, during which he represented the University’s governing bodies admirably. Professor Ehlers has served as a Visiting Professor for many years, and has been admired by generations of students. He was also closely involved in the establishment of the Friends of WMU, Germany, from 2019 onwards, leading to the Friends’ formal incorporation at the beginning of 2020. In his remarks, he emphasized that ocean governance requires worldwide, close, and trustful cooperation. “This requires that countries have efficient and effective maritime infrastructure, and that depends, above all, on skilled experts and decision makers. In this context, WMU plays the dominant role. It is here that the maritime leaders of tomorrow are educated,” he said. 

Mr Kwadwo Forson-Adabo, President of the Student Council for the Class of 2022, made remarks on behalf of the graduating Class. He thanked the City of Malmö, donors, WMU faculty and staff, host families, and families and friends for their support. He said, “Despite our diverse cultures and backgrounds during our studies, we lived as a family and shared knowledge and experiences together…These bonds will forever manifest in all of our future endeavours.”

Of the 276 graduates, 131 are from the Malmö MSc programme, and 63 graduates from the China programme, making a total number of 194 MSc graduates in 2022; four PhD graduates; 2 MPhil graduates and 76 graduates from the distance learning programmes including 8 LLM graduates. The 2022 graduation ceremony brings the total number of WMU graduates to 5,910 from 171 countries.


Mr Allan Olofsson was awarded Master of Science honoris causa for his 32 years of service to WMU as student photographer until his retirement in 2021. Since 1989, every WMU student has been photographed by Mr Olofsson, including the Chancellor and the illustrious graduates who are present today. He has been described as “a WMU institution” and his retirement brought 32 years of WMU history to a close.

Awards were also presented to recipients from 2020 who were unable to attend that year’s graduation ceremony due to the pandemic. The awards from 2020 included the following.

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 specializing 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, specializing 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.

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.

Annual Student Awards

The Chancellor's Medal for Academic Excellence for the MSc in Maritime Affairs 2022 in Malmö, as well as the C P Srivastava Award for International Fellowship, were awarded to Mr Herbert de Vera Nalupa (Philippines). Ms Elisabetta Pietrobon (Italy) received the Richard Charvet Scholarship for the Postgraduate Diploma in International Maritime Law. Ms Mo-Ran Pia Maria Han Lindberg (Sweden) received the Richard Charvet Scholarship for the best student of the Master of Laws in International Maritime Law. The Lloyd’s Maritime Academy Distance Learning Prize was awarded to Mr Andrew James Lynch (United Kingdom). The Lloyd’s Maritime Academy Dissertation Prize was awarded to Mr Mahmoud Mohamed Attia Metwalli (Egypt). The Schlüter Foundation Dissertation Prize for an outstanding dissertation in the field of Shipping and Marine Environmental Protection was awarded to Mr Saeid Hassankhani Dolatabadi (Iran), and the Secretary-General’s Prize for best dissertation was awarded to Ms Saratu Inuwa Audu (Nigeria).

For 2022, a new award category is best graduate in each of the specializations in the Malmö MSc programme. The awards were made to: Mr Herbert de Vera Nalupa (Philippines) for Maritime Education & Training, Ms Adanna Nkiruka Okonkwo (Nigeria) for Maritime Energy Management, Mr Lucky Njabulo Sithole (South Africa) for Maritime Law & Policy, Mr Choilio Sanogo (Côte d’Ivoire) for Maritime Safety & Environmental Administration, Ms Debora Cristina Ferrari Ramalho (Brazil) for Ocean Sustainability, Governance and Management, Ms Febri Triana Hartami Siagian (Indonesia) for Port Management, and Ms Nur Haziqah Binti Japar (Malaysia) for Shipping Management & Logistics.

Recipients of the Kalmar Prizes, awarded by Kalmar Global to students who are recognized as leaders among their peers, included: Ms Saratu Inuwa Audu (Nigeria), Ms Nonqaba Jabulile Bengu (South Africa), Mr Kwadwo Forson-Adaboh (Ghana), Mr Darshana Sampath Kumara (Sri Lanka), Mr Saeid Hassankhani Dolatabadi (Iran), Mr Art Jamel Hipol (Philippines), Mr Claudianus David Kunze (Tanzania), Mr Edgar Alberto Micheo Navas (Guatemala), Mr Herbert de Vera Nalupa (Philippines), and Ms Latifa Oumouzoune (Morocco).

To access photos from the ceremony, click here.

Additional WMU Graduation Ceremonies in 2022

The first WMU graduation ceremony of 2022 took place on 25 August for 22 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. The Chancellor's Medal for Academic Excellence was awarded to Mr Liang Qin (China). On 26 August, the graduation ceremony took place for 41 students 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 Ms Shen Yu (China). 

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