Remarks by the Chancellor, Board of Governors/WMU 35th Anniversary Dinner, hosted by the City of Malmö and WMU, 7 May, Knutssalen in the Old City Hall
Mr Mayor, Distinguished Guests,
We are gathered here tonight, at the generous invitation of the City of Malmö, to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the World Maritime University.
If the University were a person, it would now be in the prime of life. At 35, we have survived the perils of childhood, and forged firm, solid foundations for our futures. We have set our feet firmly on the path we will follow for the rest of our lives.
We have just concluded two days of our annual Board of Governors session. The Governors have received reports of the strides taken by the University in the past year, very significant strides in attracting new and dynamic partners and stakeholders. Tomorrow, we will inaugurate the Global Ocean Institute, a hugely significant step towards developing ocean governance on a world-wide scale.
Let me give you just a few figures to illustrate the progress made by WMU over the last 35 years:
- the first batch of students comprised 72 candidates from 40 countries
- when WMU celebrated its 20th anniversary, there were 1,719 graduates
- by the end of this year, there will be almost 5,000 WMU graduates in 168 countries across the globe.
Today, WMU graduates are to be found in all parts of the maritime and port industries, representing their countries at the IMO, and running maritime academies. Some became Prime Ministers, government ministers, deputy ministers, ambassadors, representatives of their countries at the IMO and presidents of maritime academies. Others held senior positions in their maritime administrations as well as in the industry. This unique cadre of experts – a unique brand - has passed on their skills and values they absorbed on to others. WMU is a uniquely successful educational institution within the UN system.
Today, WMU is the leading international maritime postgraduate education and research institution, and a centre of excellence, promoting maritime governance and lending support to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
WMU’s mission over the last 35 years has been made possible by the generous and enthusiastic support of friends, donors and stakeholders. The Government of Sweden and the City of Malmö made the University’s birth and growth possible. This support has been complemented over the years by the cooperation of donors - Governments, industry and non-governmental organizations, including the Nippon Foundation, the Governments of China, Norway, Germany, the Republic of Korea, the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, the TK Foundation, industry and many other donors. In recent years, developing countries have begun to provide fellowships to enable students from their countries to enrol at the University, including the Philippines, Indonesia and South Africa, to name but a few.
In 1983, WMU was seen as a technical cooperation project. It has been transformed into a fully-fledged and resilient academic institution. The WMU Endowment Fund, an important modality for resource mobilization, will be an important instrument to support the long-term sustainability of the University.
On this occasion of WMU’s 35th birthday, as a graduate of this institution myself along with several others here tonight, I look back with pride while looking forward to the future. I am honoured to play my part in guiding the University as it moves forward, and I am deeply moved by the level of support shown by leading actors across the maritime community.
So, let us toast the University tonight.
Ladies and gentlemen, Skål! Geonbae!