IMLA 27 Successfully Held by World Maritime University

Hosted by World Maritime University (WMU), IMLA 27 Joint Conference with ICERS15, IMEC32 and INSLC21 was held online with great success from 8-10 September, 2021. With the theme of “Seas of Transition: Setting a Course for the Future”, over 120 participants from 34 countries attended the conference.

IMLA’s Honorary Chair, Prof. Jin Yongxing gave an opening speech on behalf of the Association. He pointed out that IMLA has close relationship with WMU since established and expressed heartfelt thanks to WMU for the efforts in making this conference possible. He wished the Conference a full success and hope all the participants could fully speak their minds during the Conference, and contribute wisdom and strengths to the international maritime community.

Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU, delivered the welcoming remarks. She gave a warm welcome to all the participants and stated that the forum is a privileged space where maritime lecturers, maritime institute administrators and policy makers, IMLA members and anyone with an interest in MET come together to exchange views and discuss the challenges and future directions for MET in response to current situations. She encouraged maritime educators to help students to deal with uncertainties, to take risks, to confront the dilemmas, to embrace complexity, and to recognize the limitation of the knowledge.

In her keynote speech, Ms. Mayte Medina, Chief of the Office of Merchant Mariner Credential for the U.S. Coast Guard and Chair of the Maritime Safety Committee of IMO, said this is very much appropriated conference because of the IMO theme for this year: "Seafarers: at the core of shippingʹs future". She introduced the future of training from the international perspective in light of the upcoming review of the STCW Convention. “Mariners must be specialists, especially with the new technology coming on board. Specialized training need support each industry segment, safety concerns and specialized use of technology. STCW is not obsolete, however, it’s time to make some changes to remove obsolete requirements and to include new ones, in support the introduction of new technologies”, she said, “International focus on training requires that all stakeholders must participate”.

This year’s conference is unique which brings together, for the first time, IMLA with all three its special interest groups. The three-day conference consisted of 5 sessions, which were held in parallel with the papers’ presentations and panel discussions, including lifelong learning in Maritime Education and Training (MET), maritime training in safety and risk, quality MET for a sustainable future, effective communication and MET, digitalization and MET. By offering diversified presentations, the conference set a good platform for interdisciplinary discussion and constructive engagement.

During the conference, the IMLA Annual General Meeting was called. Prof. Jin Yongxing reviewed the activities of IMLA in the past two years and informed the upcoming events of IMLA in 2022. Ms Anne Pazaver, from WMU, was officially appointed as IMLA Honorary Treasure at the AGM. The Committee restructuring issues were also noted in the Chair’s Report. Updates from three special interest groups and report from the Treasure were presented subsequently.

The conference concluded with a creative virtual handing over of the IMLA28 and IMEC33 flags to the 2022 conference hosts respectively, National University Odessa Maritime Academy in Ukraine, and Admiral Ushakov Maritime State University in Russia.

1. Opening session

2. Opening remarks by Prof. Jin Yongxing, IMLA Honorary Chair

3. Welcome Address by Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU

4. Keynote speech by Ms. Mayte Medina, Chief of the Office of Merchant Mariner Credential for the U.S. Coast Guard and Chair of the Maritime Safety Committee of IMO

5. Highlights of Sessions

6. Report from the chair at AGM

7. IMLA Annual General Meeting

8. Keynote Speech by Mr. Murray Goldberg, Founder and CEO, Marine Learning Systems

9. Panel Discussion

10. Virtual handing over of flags

11. Group photo of IMLA 27 (photo by WMU)