World Maritime University - 2015 Graduation

World Maritime University
2015 Graduation Ceremony
Graduation Address by the Chancellor,  Mr. Koji Sekimizu,  Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Representatives of the Government of Sweden,
Mayor of the city of Malmo,
IMO Secretary General emeritus, distinguished guests,
President and students of 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.

With the presence of a truly great leader in the maritime community, IMO Secretary General and WMU Chancellor emeritus, Mr William O'Neil; and a leader of our future, IMO Secretary General elect, Mr Kitack Lim, it is also my happiest occasion in my term as Chancellor to say a few words of congratulation at the graduation ceremony of the class of 2015.

My thanks and words of congratulation go to:

• families of the students,
• governments of the students,
• Malmo city, and the Swedish Government,
• governments and donor organizations and industry organizations.

For families of students, your son, daughter, husband, wife, brother or sister has got an excellent professional basis on which they will build their entire professional lives in the maritime community.

For the governments supporting their students, your officials have got a first class certificate to support your work in government to sustain international shipping and protect your marine environment.
For Malmo city, you have now acquired new and excellent ambassadors for the city of Malmo.

For the Swedish Government, you have once again the admiration and appreciation of all IMO Member Governments and the shipping industry.


The last two years have been significant in the history of the University. They have also been significant years for me, as the Secretary General and the Chancellor.

In 2013, IMO held, at its headquarters in London, a commemorative cerebration of 30 years of service by WMU, recognising the remarkable achievements of the University. I, as the Secretary General of IMO, invited Secretaries General emeriti, including C P Srivastava, who initiated the work to establish the University in the beginning of 1980s. I invited CP Srivastava to the cerebration event but, due to his health, he could not attend. Upon the conclusion of the commemorative event, I called him on the phone and reported the success of the event. He was really appreciative for all the work carried out for the WMU after he retired from IMO in 1989 and pleased with the success of the event. This was, sadly, my last conversation with him. He passed away a week later.

Also in the spring of 2013, I proposed to the IMO Council to carry out a major study on sustainability of the University. Having received approval from the Council, I commissioned a study team in December 2013.

In 2014, the sustainability study made significant progress. But the process was not easy. We had encountered a number of issues that needed intensive discussion among the study team. I spent considerable time and energy on the study, with enthusiastic members of the Secretariat and University staff. A high-level advisory panel was also formed and, at the end, ambitious new strategic directions were generated as the core outcome of the sustainability study.

In 2015, the IMO Council agreed that the theme of World Maritime Day would be ‘Maritime Education and Training’. In this year of maritime education, I have appointed a new WMU President, Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, and presented the study report to the IMO Council. The new campus was also successfully inaugurated in May and the IMO Council noted the outcome of the sustainability study and the new strategic directions.

One of the new directions for the future of the University was the creation of an endowment fund, and it is my great pleasure to inform this graduation ceremony that the Board of Governors yesterday adopted an interim statute for the endowment fund. With this, we start to generate the US$100 million targeted in the coming years as a stable resource for the future of the University.

With this development, I am particularly pleased with our progress in safeguarding the future of the World Maritime University. The WMU has already acquired a high reputation as the post graduate University for future maritime leaders and this year's election of a Secretary General who is among the past graduates of the WMU is a clear testimony of the value of the University as an institution for generating future leaders in the maritime community and an excellent encouragement for the graduates of the University, not only indicating hope but also the reality of what this University can offer to the maritime industry and the maritime and ocean community.


I always find it inspirational to see members of the young generations actively engaged in developing their knowledge base and skill sets within their career path. By doing so, they equip themselves to face the new challenges they will encounter.

On this occasion for cerebration, I would like to address a few words directly to the most important participants in today's ceremony - the students who are about to graduate.

Graduates, you will become leaders of the maritime community in your future.

As a message from me on the occasion of your graduation, I would like to give the following as a guide for your work.

First, please discipline yourself. This is the start of any acts you will begin.

Second, you should take the courage of saying the right thing and do the right thing which you believe to be right. Rely on you judgement always.

Thirdly, always aim at the top of the world.

Fourth, you must be ambitious. You must generate public ambition and not personal ambition. You must be ambitious and work for other people and not for your selfish interest. Ambitions but not for money, not for selfish aggrandisement, not for such evanescent thing which men call fame. You must be ambitious for the attainment of all that a man ought to be as a graduate of WMU and as a leader of the maritime community. Please remember that "ethics and morals" is the most important qualification for any leader.

And fifth, work with people at down not at the top. We must work with people and this can only be done if you come down with people.

Those are my messages I wish to give at this graduation ceremony but I do this being conscious that this is my last opportunity to do this as the Chancellor of the University.

Dear graduates, you should be proud to be graduates of the WMU. Your status will be properly recognised in the maritime community and your skills and knowledge will be invaluable in your life in the maritime community. As graduates of the World Maritime University, you will enjoy privileges that cannot be provided by any other institution.

So I urge you, throughout your career, continue to support the ideals and objectives of IMO. You will have a great future.

I wish you, and the World Maritime University, all the best and the very best of luck for the future.

Thank you.