World Maritime University Graduation 2019



Malmö, Sweden, 3 November 2019

Excellencies and Guest of Honour Ms. Sadan Kaptanoğlu, President of BIMCO,
Representatives of the Government of Sweden,
Mayor of Malmo Ms. Nilsson,
Representatives of donors, sponsors, employers and governments,

Distinguished guests,
Madam President and Graduands of the World Maritime University,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon.

I am honoured today to address the WMU class of 2019 on this very special occasion. Please allow me to begin with congratulating your hard work and perseverance in achieving your goal, whilst at the same time helping us to lift this great institution to a new level. I would kindly request that give them a round of applause for their hard work and achievement.

Today, we honour the graduands of 2019. We are celebrating the transition that takes each of you from being a student to being a proud graduate of WMU.

Each of you will now join an elite global group of maritime professionals in an industry that has shaped the modern world.

The impact of shipping on every facet of our lives may sometimes go unremarked, but it is undoubtedly significant.

 Graduands, you have studied very hard for this day, and we are delighted to acknowledge your achievements which you undoubtedly deserve. Your accomplishments today, however, cannot be celebrated without thanks to those who supported you for the last two years.

First of all, I would like to thank your family members and your government organizations that made it possible for you to join and complete the course successfully.

We are grateful to the Governments of Argentina, Bahrain, Chile, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey, all of which have sponsored their students in the class of 2019.

My sincerest gratitude extends to The Nippon Foundation which, through the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, provided 30 Sasakawa Fellows to your class of 2019.

I also wish to thank the Governments of Australia, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom, as well as to the ITF Seafarers' Trust, the TK Foundation, the International Chamber of Shipping, the World Nuclear Transport Institute, Orients Fond, Stena, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and Gard AS, for their continued and increased levels of fellowship support.

I would also like to express my deep appreciation to the Government of Sweden, the City of Malmö and its lovely citizens, for their continuous and generous support, as well as their kind hospitality to the University staff and students.

I am pleased to report that IMO continues to provide a substantial fellowships funding through our Integrated Technical Cooperation Programmes. 

I am also quite sure that the graduands are pleased to join me in thanking Madam President and the dedicated WMU academic and administrative staff for their unrelenting efforts to successfully guide you to this place of honour.

I arrived here, in Malmö, as a WMU student in December 1989 and stayed until December 1991. We worked hard with both colleagues and staff. Over the years, I have seen  the reputation and recognition of WMU grow and I am very proud of the University. I wish to express my thanks to all alumni, students, staff and faculty members for their hard work.

I myself understand that becoming a graduate of WMU is no simple endeavour. The long nights, lectures and the hardship of examinations. I am sure the journey at WMU will have a profound impact on the rest of your lives. All of you will have forged new friendships and even expanded your professional network. These relationships will remain throughout the rest of your lives.

So, why would anyone put themselves through such hardship? I am sure you have an answer for that but let me give you an insight into some of my motivations. I also moved away from my home and family. It was a risk I took in pushing myself forward as I wanted to make a positive difference. Now I am very confident that I am able to spread the spirit of WMU, showcase its advantages in assisting every aspect of the maritime sector and building bridges between the various administrations and the industry.

I still use the skills I gained all those years ago on a daily basis and in every aspect of my work.

I urge you to keep walking with the same determination you have found during your time at WMU and strive to succeed. With IMO, the sector has made considerable progress over the past few decades, however, there is much work to be done.

With your drive and continuous effort, I am convinced that together, we can make the maritime world a more collaborative, exciting, sustainable and progressive sector to work in.

You are, I hope, all familiar with IMO's World Maritime theme for 2019, "Empowering women in the maritime community". I am grateful to be joined today by honourable guest Ms. Şadan Kaptanoğlu, the first ever female President of BIMCO, and Ms Sabrina Chao, who has been elected as BIMCO's President Designate, to follow Ms. Kaptanoğlu, both of whom embody excellent examples that the shipping industry is steadily moving towards true gender equality. 

Increasing the high-level participation of women in the public and professional sphere leads to better social and economic outcomes. It is critical that women have equal access to opportunities at all levels and within all sectors of maritime, which is further supported by the increasing proportion of women opting to study through WMU and being involved throughout the ranks of IMO.

All of WMU's work, a nexus of maritime knowledge and expertise, is eventually placed at the service of IMO Member States.

Research is a powerhouse of maritime development and your learned research capabilities could make an indispensable contribution towards IMO and the global maritime community. I know how important it has been to me to be part of the WMU family, and I have experienced the considerable influence of WMU graduates, first-hand, at IMO, among Member States, and in the wider industry as well. WMU and its graduates significantly enrich the maritime community, and you, the class of 2019, will now join us in our endeavours to address challenging issues such as IMO 2020, combatting climate change and also achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

These are real targets and, to succeed, I urge every one of you to assume ownership and shoulder your part of your responsibility of moving the world forward in a sustainable manner and leaving no one behind. You are now in the enviable position of having the knowledge and the power to turn ideas into reality. This will improve our lives, benefit our countries, our regions, and our planet.

Graduands, - I know that everyone here in the audience today has immense faith in your capabilities and your transformative powers. I am certain that you will repay this trust in full in the future.

As you are about to embark on the next chapter of your lives, I encourage you to make your career count with one simple question: "How can I/can you make a difference?"

I wish you all every success and prosperity, and I look forward to seeing you at IMO meetings or in your new position as a maritime expert, administrator, minister, representative, in the future.

Thank you.