World Maritime University celebrates 40th anniversary
Over four decades, the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden, has developed into a world centre of excellence in postgraduate maritime and ocean education, research, and professional training.
The University, established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), counts more than 5,800 alumni from 170 countries and territories. Many hold senior positions in maritime administrations around the world, testament to the University’s mission to build an extensive network of well-qualified, highly educated maritime experts, particularly in developing nations.
To mark the 40th anniversary, a morning of celebrations kicked off an international Conference on Maritime and Ocean Sustainability (20 to 22 June 2023) in Malmö.
IMO’s Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, himself a graduate of WMU, highlighted the University’s achievements and reflected on his own experiences at WMU.
“I am sure I can speak for all of us WMU alumni when I say that time spent studying at WMU has a profound impact on our lives – not just in terms of the studies completed but also the connections made. Our life experiences in the city of Malmö and WMU are ingrained in our hearts and minds – something we take with us wherever we go in the world and in our careers,” he said.
He added: “The mighty international network of WMU graduates is a great force for good in the world. Those who continue to work as experts for the benefit of the international maritime community will help ensure that our beautiful ocean is passed on to future generations.”
Thanking the many generous supporters of WMU over the past 40 years, Mr. Lim said:
“The success of the World Maritime University would not be possible without the support of the host City of Malmö and the Government of Sweden – IMO and the wider maritime community thank you with deepest gratitude. And I wish to express my appreciation to all the citizens of Malmö who have been generous and polite, always showing their kindness and support to WMU and its students.”
“My sincerest thanks also go to the all the generous donors, private and public. Their financial, fellowships and in-kind support ensure that the University continues to be one of the cornerstones of IMO’s capacity-building mission,” he said.
Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU’s outgoing President, said:
“The picture today, as we mark our Ruby Anniversary, is very different – in addition to the Malmö-based MSc, we have outreach MSc teaching in China; five distance-learning programmes; and a thriving PhD programme. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) since the year 2009, continues to recognize the importance of the World Maritime University of the International Maritime Organization, as a centre of excellence for maritime education, research and capacity building.”
Professor Max Mejia, who begins his tenure as WMU President at the end of June, said:
‘’WMU must continue to be effective in serving its function of building capacity — of training future leaders and decision-makers — and its function of creating new knowledge that will contribute to IMO and global efforts to solve conundrums and challenges in the maritime and oceans areas.”
Alongside music provided by the WMU choir and the Malmö fire brigade, other speakers celebrating WMU’s 40 years included: Rear Admiral Peter Brady (Ret), Vice Chair of WMU’s Board of Governors and Director General of The Maritime Authority of Jamaica; Mr. Johan Davidson, State Secretary to the Minister for Infrastructure and Housing, Ministry of Rural Affairs and Infrastructure, Government of Sweden; Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno, Executive Director of The Nippon Foundation; Ms. Sofia Heden, Deputy Mayor of Malmö; and Mr. Leo Donghyeog Seo, President of WMU’s Student Council.
Many WMU alumni are attending the celebrations and Conference.
The three-day “WMU at 40: Conference on Maritime and Ocean Sustainability” is sponsored by IMO, the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, and Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority. Sessions cover: Maritime & Ocean Sustainability; Transitioning to Zero Emission Shipping; Focusing on People to Ensure Healthy, Safe & Secure Working Conditions; Promoting Closer Collaboration Among Stakeholder Communities; Rewarding Sustainable Performance and Fostering Innovation; Creating A Level Playing Field Through Transparency & Accountability; and Protecting the Oceans Beyond National Jurisdiction.