IMO International Law Institute (IMLI) virtual graduation ceremony,
3 September 2020,
Address by Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General.
It is a great pleasure for me to address you on this prestigious occasion. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had an unprecedented impact on the shipping industry and on seafarers.
The Institute itself has also been faced with challenges and the need to take unprecedented measures to ensure the health and safety of its students and successful completion of another academic year. Indeed, I am delighted to deliver this message for the Institute's first ever virtual graduation ceremony to celebrate the success of the Class of 2020. You, the graduands, are therefore taking part in another milestone for the Institute.
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to you for your remarkable achievements.
You, the Class of 2020 have been equipped with the necessary skills to contribute effectively to the realization of IMO's goals. You had the privilege of being trained at IMLI – a centre of excellence for the training of specialists in international maritime law and for the dissemination of knowledge and expertise in the field, and the cornerstone of the Organization's Technical Cooperation programme.
Today we celebrate the success of 62 maritime professionals. This year sees the addition of two new countries (São Tomé and Príncipe and Belarus) to the graduates in the Institute's Master's programmes and the graduation of the first two graduates of the Master of Philosophy programme in International Maritime Law and Ocean Policy offered jointly by the two sister institutions - IMLI and the World Maritime University.
Notwithstanding the impressive numbers of the graduates of this Institute (now nearly 1,100 from 147 States), it is no time to rest on our laurels.
I wish to remember the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Oceans and Law of the Sea which, for the 12th consecutive year, recognized IMLI's work and encouraged the maritime community at large to continue to support its mission. I express my heartfelt appreciation to all organizations and institutions which provide assistance to the Institute to achieve its global mission. I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Government of Malta which has hosted IMLI since its inception and supported it throughout its existence.
To Professor David Attard and the dedicated IMLI academic and administrative staff, I wish to thank you for your hard work and relentless efforts to make the Institute rise to the highest standards.
As you reap the fruits of your dedication being awarded an IMLI Degree, please always remember that you have pledged yourselves to serve the rule of international maritime law. Remember that wherever you are, you have friends and colleagues who speak the same language as you and who have a common goal: safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans. The Institute has equipped you with knowledge and skills you need to use for the benefit of all of us. Apply your newly acquired skills, when advising or representing your country and when negotiating with your international partners. Above all, do not forget that it will be our concerted efforts that will ensure that our beautiful oceans are passed on to future generations.
I congratulate you on your achievements and hope to meet you in person at IMO, on a future occasion.