World Maritime University
Address by Efthimios
E. Mitropoulos, IMO Secretary-General and Chancellor of the World Maritime University,
Malmö, Sweden, 7 October 2007
Yildirim, Representatives of the Swedish Foreign Ministry and Maritime Administration,
Chairman of the Malmö City Board,
Permanent Representatives to IMO and Delegates to the eighty-third session of
the Maritime Safety Committee, Professor Gold, Representative of the Japanese
Ocean Policy Research Foundation and the Nippon Foundation, Managing Director
of the Swedish Shipowners Association, Governors, President and staff of the
University, Distinguished guests, families and friends of the graduands, Graduands,
ladies and gentlemen,
it gives me great pleasure to be with you today at this World Maritime University
graduation ceremony. This is an event that occupies a high-priority place in
my diary, one I always look forward to with excitement and anticipation - not
just because the keenness and the passion of the student body is so invigorating
and so infectious, but also because it gives me the opportunity to meet those
who the University prepares to play a significant role in shaping the future
of the shipping industry; and, as often seems to be the case, the future of
IMO - and that is always very rewarding.
On this occasion,
we are honoured to be joined by several special guests among whom I would single
out Mr. Binali Yildirim, the Minister of Transport of the Republic of Turkey
and a 1991 WMU Graduate, who studied Maritime Safety Administration in Istanbul;
and Professor Edgar Gold, a Master Mariner and former Professor of Law at Dalhousie
University, Canada, who has been a WMU Governor for 13 years.
we are here today primarily to honour the students, young men and women, who
have shown how, supplementing their own natural abilities with a healthy dose
of hard work and application, can pay dividends and help ensure they succeed
in achieving their goals. It is this attitude and aptitude that I hope and trust
they will carry forward into their professional lives while serving the maritime
community and all that it stands for.
beneficiary of all this will, no doubt, be global civil society, within which
the graduates of this University now form a sizeable and very influential cadre.
Many have risen to high levels within the maritime authorities in their home
countries; others have taken the commercial route and achieved prominent positions
within one facet or another of this most diverse of industries - all of them
reminiscing about their happy days here in Malmö when, to my delight, they
greet me every time I visit their country. Several others find their way into
their national delegations at various IMO meetings, giving me great pleasure
to see their familiar faces whenever they come over to our London Headquarters.
new graduates have swelled the ranks of the University's alumni to the extent
that, by the end of this year, there will be a total of 2,464 graduates from
153 countries and territories, all making a massive contribution to the well-being
of the maritime sector all over the world.
out, today's graduands will be leaving behind an institution that is in fine
health - indeed, rarely has it been in better. In terms of student numbers,
the total of those at the Malmö, Shanghai and Dalian campuses, the distance
learning programme and the Professional Development Courses reached a height
of 1,115 in 2006, the largest number ever recorded to date. Of these, some 409
were trained in the postgraduate programmes, both in the campuses and by distance
learning, while another 706 attended Professional Development Courses in Malmö
and at client locations around the world.
the 206 graduates of 2006, from the three campuses and the distance-learning
programme, also represent the greatest number of students ever to have attained
WMU qualifications in a single year. My congratulations go to all concerned
- students, faculty staff and lecturers - on this excellent achievement and
on the hard work and immense dedication that all concerned have shown in order
to attain such a worthy result.
have seen a flourishing, not just of the body of students, but also of the institution
itself. There is no doubt that this has now become a truly world-class educational
establishment with an outreach and an influence that I am sure is living up
to, and even exceeding, the most ambitious aspirations of its founding fathers,
driven by the dynamic persuasive force of my pre-predecessor Dr. Srivastava,
nearly a quarter of a century ago.
of academic programmes, for example, continues to expand. Last year saw the
addition of a new Master's programme in maritime law, aimed at Swedish students
and taught in collaboration with Lund University.
non-degree Professional Development Courses continued to thrive in 2006, with
courses being delivered not only in Malmö but also in diverse locations
around the world, such as in Ghana, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Nigeria,
Panama, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and the United Republic of Tanzania.
new PhD programme in Maritime Administration, focussing on the technical, legal
and management aspects of maritime administration, was also launched in 2006
with the enrolment of five students.
is also in progress for the establishment of a new joint doctoral programme
with Kobe University in Japan and WMU has also provided advice to the authorities
in India on the creation of the Indian Maritime University.
despite its noteworthy and commendable performance (including prudent and sensible
financial management, for which the President, Board of Governors and Executive
Council are to be congratulated), this is an institution that refuses to rest
on its laurels, as, through new initiatives, it strives to achieve even better
results now and in the future.
None of these
successes, and those to come through continued expansion of WMU's course and
research outreach, would have been possible without the commitment and dedication
of the President of the University, Dr. Laubstein, ably assisted by an excellent
team of professors, lecturers and administrators; and without the generous and
vital support of a host of benefactors and contributors, who provide much of
the wherewithal, both financial and in-kind, on which the World Maritime University
Of all the donors, the largest single fellowship contributor is the Ocean Policy
Research Foundation of Japan, which, in this year alone, stands to provide some
30 per cent of the total fellowship funding. The University itself will contribute
some 20 per cent of that total from revenue generated by consultancy, research,
operational savings and miscellaneous business activities. This makes it its
own second largest fellowship donor - indeed, over the last ten years, the University
has contributed a total of US$4,963,000 towards financing the studies of 135
a total of 89 new fellowships for the 2006 Malmö MSc programme were donated,
while over half of its new full-time students for the year, including 13 per
cent on the Malmö MSc programme and all the students on the MSc programmes
in Shanghai and Dalian and its distant-learning programme, were self-funded.
wish to take this opportunity to express my appreciation, and indeed that of
the whole of IMO, to all donor Governments and organizations for their valuable
support to the University citing, in particular, the Nippon Foundation and the
Ocean Policy Research Foundation of Japan, the International Transport Workers'
Federation, the Governments of Canada, Denmark, France, Norway, the Republic
of Korea and the United Kingdom, Inmarsat Global Limited and the European Union's
I also wish
to pay a special tribute to the generosity of the Government of China for its
recent contribution of US$106,000 towards the replacement of 100 computers at
the Henrik Smith Student Residence; to the Swedish International Development
Agency (SIDA) for continuing its practice of the past three years of a special
donation of US$60,000 to meet the cost of an annual international symposium
on maritime security held at WMU; to the Japanese classification society, Class
NK, for its donation of US$59,000 to upgrade the multi media laboratories at
WMU; and to Les Amis de l'Université Maritime Mondiale (AUMM) in France
for its contribution of €8,000 to establish and equip the "Salle Pierre
Houssin" for PhD students, in memory of Professor Houssin, who sadly passed
away last year.
And, of course,
I would not close my list of thanksgiving without expressing immense gratitude
to the Government of Sweden and the City of Malmö for the strong support
and exquisite hospitality they generously provide to the University and to its
Ladies and gentlemen,
although this is always a happy occasion, it would be remiss of me not to mention
the shock we all felt on receiving the devastating news of the unexpected and
premature passing last October of Igor Ponomarev, who, among his many roles
and responsibilities in the international maritime community, was, at the time
of his demise, also a Governor of this University. Igor is greatly missed, both
from a professional and from a personal point of view.
his memory, I have proposed to the IMO Council the establishment of a scholarship
at the University to commemorate Igor's life, which the Council endorsed wholeheartedly.
The Igor Ponomarev Scholarship Fund, as we named it, will support the attendance
of a student on the 17-month MSC programme and a decision on the winner of the
scholarship will be made soon.
And now, a few
words to today's graduands to whom I extend warm congratulations on the successful
completion of their studies. I welcome you all, with the deepest affection,
to the family of those who have passed through this institution and gone on
to achieve great distinction within the maritime community.
you are receiving today represents the fruit of your labour over the past year
but it also marks the beginning of a new stage in the challenging career you
have chosen - a career that will benefit yourselves, your families, your countries
and the international maritime community as a whole.
Most of you,
I am sure, will have opportunities to make a genuine, positive mark on this
world that we share. I hope you make the most of them, and I am confident that
your time here in Malmö has prepared you very well to do so. The future
is yours and you are in an enviable position not shared by many. We are proud
of you as, I know, are your families and friends.
graduation on, you will be called to serve an industry, which, thanks to IMO's
and governments' persistent efforts over many years has good, and improving,
credentials on safety, security and environmental protection, characterized
by a high sense of corporate responsibility. Shipping is caring, sensitive to
criticism and prompt and eager to improve its performance so that it may become
even better - determined to continue striving for quality in all its manifestations,
committed to working harmoniously with others to enhance its overall performance
and improve its image. It is, quite simply, the industry that feeds us, keeps
us warm and also keeps the lights on. As you embark on your careers within shipping,
be mindful of the part you can play in fostering the new, positive, image of
shipping and do all you can to spread the word about this excellent and most
vital of industries.
the 81st International Convention of the Propeller Club of the United States
in Athens, two days ago, on this year's theme "Friendships across the Oceans",
I said that, to me, those "friendships" meant relationships that are
hammered out through serving the same, great industry of shipping, irrespective
of nationality or status. It meant bonds established among partners over many
years of doing business together, honouring their words and respecting their
deals. It meant striking gentlemen's agreements and sticking to them. It meant
honesty, straight-forwardness and mutual esteem. We mean what we say and say
what we mean.
When we shake hands, to seal a deal at the end of a negotiation, we are conscious
not only of what we are concluding but also of our steadfast determination to
honour our part of the deal. Sayings like
"my word, my bond" and "fair competition" have their origin
in shipping and are words that, above anything else, characterize the shipping
community and single out its servants: they are the ingredients, the deep roots
of that unique group of men and women who, in their totality, constitute the
brotherhood of the sea. Well, my dear graduands: My vision, indeed my dream,
is to see you becoming worthy members of that brotherhood. May my dream come
that, all that is left for me to do now, on this prestigious occasion, is to
wish you all good luck and every success. May life be kind to you and the winds
be fair. I look forward to meeting you again in any future role you choose,
as you apply the specialized knowledge you have acquired in this great institution
in pursuit of IMO's desired goals of safe, secure and efficient shipping on
clean seas. Your countries need you, shipping is expecting you and IMO will