IMO Secretary-General Visits WMU

World Maritime University


On 17 January, IMO Secretary-General and WMU Chancellor, Mr. Koji Sekimizu, visited WMU for a full itinerary of activities, accompanied by the Director of the Technical Co-operation Division, Mr. Nicolaos Charalambous (WMU alumnus M.Sc. 1986 (MSAE)), and the Senior Deputy Director, Ms. Pamela Tansey. The visit was hosted by WMU President Professor Björn Kjerfve, and Vice President Academic Professor Neil Bellefontaine.
The Secretary-General addressed the students including the 125 M.Sc. students in the class of 2014 as well as many of the full-time Ph.D. students. He emphasized the unique and important connection between IMO and WMU, and the expectation upon graduation that WMU alumni return to their home countries with a strong understanding of IMO and its international Conventions, noting that the first Convention, SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea), will mark its 100thanniversary on Monday, 20 January. On a personal note, he spoke to the students about making the most of their time at WMU, and taking advantage of every moment. In relaying his own experience, he remarked on the importance of getting enough rest to allow your mind to process information, and the particular value he finds in the time of the early morning. Recognizing the average age of WMU students is around 35, he encouraged the students to think actively about their future careers 10, 20, and even 30 years from now and what the world will be like at that time. He noted that perhaps someone in the room might be a future Minister for their country, or IMO Secretary-General.
After an informal greeting session with the students, Mr. Sekimizu met with several members of the Swedish Transport Agency who were in Malmö for part two of a customized Executive Professional Development Course (EPDC). The focus for the week happened to be the SOLAS Convention. Mr. Sekimizu spoke to the group about the history of SOLAS, noting its upcoming anniversary, as well as the two-year anniversary of the Costa Concordia on 13 January which took place just two weeks into his tenure as Secretary-General.
Mr. Sekimizu also addressed the WMU faculty and staff, emphasizing his interest in increased collaboration and contact between IMO and WMU. He noted the value to both IMO and WMU in highlighting that unique relationship. Mr. Sekimizu spoke of the vision of WMU by its founding father, former IMO Secretary-General and WMU Chancellor Emeritus Dr. C.P. Srivastava, and emphasized that IMO can create Conventions, but cannot implement them. Therefore the creation of WMU was, and continues to be, paramount to educating maritime professionals in developing countries to effectively implement International Conventions and improve maritime capacity building.
After lunch at the Old City Hall, hosted by Malmö City Mayor and WMU Governor Kent Andersson, the afternoon focused on a site visit to the future home of WMU. In early 2015, WMU will move to Tornhuset, the centrally located, historic harbor master’s building that will be enhanced by a dramatic new addition designed by renowned architect Kim Utzon in collaboration with Tyrone Cobcroft of Terrior Architects (Australia). A presentation about the overall project ideas and progress was made by Mr. Cobcroft before a walk-through of the construction site. Work in the historic existing building is ongoing and work on the slab for the sixth floor cafeteria was underway. A late afternoon meeting with the WMU Management Committee rounded out the day. 

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