Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2013
World Maritime University, Malmö, Sweden
24 November 2013
Speech by Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General
International Maritime Organization
Excellencies, Representatives of the Government of Sweden, Mayor of the City of Malmö, Secretary-General Emeritus, Distinguished guests, President, staff and students at the World Maritime University, Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today. I am honoured to be able to share with the students here what, I am sure, will be one of the most important occasions of their lives to date: graduation from the World Maritime University.
I always find it inspirational to see members of the younger generations actively engaged in developing their knowledge base and skillsets within their chosen career path. By so doing, they equip themselves to face the new challenges and increasing demands that will inevitably come their way.
This fine institution, the World Maritime University, is the post graduate University of IMO. It was founded 30 years ago by IMO in 1983, and has grown to become a global centre of excellence for maritime post-graduate education and research.
It exists in order to enhance the objectives and goals of IMO and IMO Member States around the world, through education, research, and capacity building. The overall aim is to help ensure safe, secure, and efficient shipping on clean oceans, and it succeeds in doing this by sending a constant stream of highly-qualified post-graduates back into the maritime world, predominantly to developing countries, where they take their place as leaders and influencers within all sectors of the maritime world.
Based here in Malmö, WMU is very much a global institution. It serves the world and, as such, it also relies on donors, sponsors and supporters from all over the world for the funding without which it would not be able to function. So, in addition to the Government of Sweden and the City of Malmö, I should like to thank the Nippon Foundation and the Ocean Policy Research Foundation of Japan, the International Transport Workers' Federation, the TK Foundation, Inmarsat Ltd, BP Shipping, the International Chamber of Shipping, the Swedish Trust Fund, the EU Safemed project and the Governments of Canada, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States for their generous and very welcome support for WMU.
I should like to now address a few words directly to the most important participants in today’s ceremony – the students who are about to graduate.
Graduates, this university forms an integral part of the system of governance established for international shipping; a system in which Governments of the world come together at IMO to develop and agree a regulatory framework for shipping. Flag States and port States both play a key role in implementing and enforcing the regulatory regime to make shipping safer and cleaner.
This is a robust system, one that has repeatedly shown its ability to remain relevant and appropriate as both shipping, and society’s expectations, change over time.
The reason it has been able to do so is people – and that means people like you, who are graduating today.
You have studied activities of IMO, among other fields, during the course of your studies. When you graduate, you will apply what you have learnt at this University in the real world. In the future, you will be involved in mechanisms of the maritime Administrations and the maritime industries in your own countries.
Shipping and ports are vital links in the supply chain without which today’s interdependent, global economy would be simply unable to function. Shipping has always provided the only truly cost effective method of bulk transport over any great distance, and the development of shipping and the establishment of a global system of trade go hand in hand. Now, and in the future, shipping will be an indispensable component of global, sustainable development.
In the future, you may be involved in national delegations attending IMO meetings; you may even have opportunities to work in the IMO Secretariat. In what we like to call the IMO family, you can find numerous WMU graduates actively involved in discussions, leading working groups and sub-committees. Currently, four of the Senior Management Committee of IMO, composed of eleven senior managers, are graduates of the University.
As a graduate of WMU, you will have a bright future – because WMU is a unique educational institution established by IMO. Its strength is that it is a part of IMO: the formal educational institution where future maritime administrators, policy makers and international civil servants, are fully trained to support the objectives of IMO. This status cannot be provided by any other Universities or educational institutions in the world.
Students, you should be proud to be graduates of WMU. Your status will be properly recognized in the maritime communities and your skills and knowledge will be invaluable when it comes to implementation of IMO instruments.
As graduates of the World Maritime University, you will enjoy privileges that cannot be provided by any other institutions.
So I urge you: throughout your careers, please, continue to support the ideals and objectives of IMO; and continue to support international shipping. You will have a great future.
I wish you, and the World Maritime University, the very best of luck for the future; and I look forward to meeting many of you in the future as you progress through the stages of your professional lives.