WMU President Addresses IMO Technical Cooperation Committee
On 19 October, Professor Maximo Q. Mejia, Jr., President of the World Maritime University (WMU), addressed the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Technical Cooperation Committee (TCC) to report on the activities of the University in 2022. The 73rd session of TCC (TCC 73) was held from 16 to 20 October.
In his remarks, President Mejia recognized the importance of dedicated donors and partners who contributed in 2022 to the WMU operational budget, student fellowships, and field study opportunities for students. Particular thanks were extended to the Government of Sweden, including the City of Malmö, The Nippon Foundation of Japan, the Republic of Korea, Canada, the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), the IMO, and the Government of Thailand for their support and contributions to WMU’s General Fund. Special thanks were also extended to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for contributing USD 94,340 to the University’s Endowment Fund.
Major fellowship funders for 2022 were highlighted including the Sasakawa Peace Foundation through The Nippon Foundation, the IMO Global Capacity-Building Technical Cooperation Programme, Nigeria, Norway, the Republic of Korea, the Orient’s Fond of Denmark, South Africa, Australia, ITF Seafarersʹ Trust, Germany, the TK Foundation, the United Kingdom, Stena Rederi AB, Grimaldi Foundation, Malaysia, China, the Philippines, Singapore, Gard A/S, the International Chamber of Shipping, and the Norwegian Seafarers’ Union. Special thanks were also extended to the United States Coast Guard for their ongoing, in-kind contribution of a lecturer to the University since 1987.
President Mejia reported that in 2022, 276 students from 71 countries graduated from WMU bringing the total number of graduates to 5,807 from 170 countries and territories. Of these graduates,1,295, or 34 percent, are women which is a significant increase from previous decades. In 1992, female graduates constituted only 10 percent of the enrolment, rising to 19 percent in 2012. A recruitment strategy with strong support from fellowship donors has resulted in the proportion of female students consistently making up around a third of the annual intake, with the 2022 Malmö MSc intake reaching 38 percent women.
Reporting on research and consultancy services, President Mejia highlighted contracts with the European Union, IMO, and global maritime institutions. In 2022, the University managed 33 research and consultancy projects, amounting to USD 2,000,000 in revenue and initiating nine new projects. WMU has also actively collaborated with IMO on various endeavours, within the framework of the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP), such as National Maritime Transport Policy (NMTP) workshops held in Brazil and Suriname. WMU’s 2022 academic publications included 146 works encompassing books, peer-reviewed articles and a multitude of technical reports and presentations.
A highlight of 2022 achievements included the April launch of IMO's pioneering Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response, and Cooperation (OPRC) e-learning course that was developed by WMU. Within three months, it attracted registrations from over 1,000 professionals across 90 countries. Following this success, funding was secured for a Spanish version, and a second IMO e-learning course on biofouling management was introduced in October. Furthermore, WMU finalized work on an auditor e-learning training course under the IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) which was successfully launched at the IMO on 12 October 2023. Capitalizing on the success of these e-learning initiatives, the IMO commissioned WMU to produce five additional courses, expanding into diverse topics such as the ISM Code and Ballast Water Management, some of which will be available in multiple languages. President Mejia extended particular thanks to the Director of TCD, Mr. Xiaojie Zhang, and the former Deputy Director, Mr. Jonathan Pace, for their unwavering support on these projects. It is of note that both Mr Zhang and Mr Pace are WMU alumni.
President Mejia appealed to all TCC members to consider providing financial support to WMU as such contributions strengthen the University’s financial sustainability as well as providing valuable opportunities for developing country nationals, particularly from SIDs and LDCs to pursue studies at WMU.
In closing, President Mejia pledged WMU’s support for the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, adopted at MEPC 80, through providing WMU students with the skills and tools to respond and provide novel solutions to the maritime community, particularly in fighting climate change. He thanked the Secretary-General, the TCC Committee, Chair and Members for their continued support of WMU’s education, research and capacity-building activities that ultimately inspire leadership and innovation for a sustainable maritime and oceans future.