Professor Maximo Mejia Becomes World Maritime University President

(Portrait courtesy of WMU)

Published Jun 29, 2023 5:55 PM by The Maritime Executive

The World Maritime University (WMU), the 40-year-old postgraduate maritime university program based in Sweden, today, June 29, installed Professor Maximo Q. Mejia, Jr. as its eighth President. He becomes the first President of the program from Asia and the first President who is a graduate of WMU. Founded by the International Maritime Organization, WMU’s mission is to be the world center of excellence in postgraduate maritime and oceans education, professional training and research, while building global capacity and promoting sustainable development.

Appointed by the Secretary-General of the IMO, who also serves as Chancellor of the University, President Mejia assumes the role of Chief Executive Officer, overseeing and directing the academic programs, operations, and administration of the university. Mejia succeeds Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry whose term expired after having led the university since 2015.

Initially established to address the growing shortage of maritime professionals in the late 1990s, Dr. Doumbia-Henry helped to put the institution on a new course focused on climate change. She discussed the challenges facing the industry and the university’s efforts in a 2021 interview with The Maritime Executive and an “In The Know” Podcast

Professor Mejia takes the lead in the program at a critical time for the IMO and the shipping industry. In July the IMO is set to revise its decarbonization strategy as calls grow for the maritime industry to accelerate its effort to reach net zero operations. The university’s role continues to shift into providing leadership for maritime decarbonization.

“I thank the IMO Secretary-General and WMU Chancellor for granting me the esteemed privilege to lead the World Maritime University,” said President Mejia. “Our unique connection to the IMO, our extensive global network, and our stellar postgraduate education prepare WMU graduates to serve as a force for good in the maritime and oceans sectors. I look forward to leading our eminent maritime and oceans scholars, researchers, and professionals to increase global capacity building in support of a blue economy.”

President Mejia is an accomplished global leader and scholar in maritime governance, policy, and administration. With over three decades of professional and academic experience, he is a passionate international advocate for the promotion of safe, secure, sustainable, and efficient shipping on clean oceans. He joined the WMU Faculty in 1998 and has held various positions within the university including Director of the PhD Programme, Head of the Maritime Law and Policy Specialization, Associate Academic Dean, and Nippon Foundation Professor of Maritime Policy, Governance, and Administration. 

Before taking the leadership of the university, he served as Administrator/Director General at the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) from 2013 to 2016, heading the government agency responsible for integrating the development, promotion, and regulation of the maritime industry in the Philippines. From 1988 to 1998, he progressively held various positions in the Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard including Assistant Chief of Staff for Navigational Safety and Deputy Executive Director of the Multisectoral Task Force on Maritime Development.

In 2013, Professor Mejia was included in Lloyd’s List 100 Most Influential Persons in the Shipping Industry. He has served on several senior diplomatic assignments including Head of Delegation of the Philippines to IMO meetings (2013 -2016), Special Envoy of the President of the Philippines to the Inauguration of the Expanded Panama Canal (2016), and Chairperson of the 31st ASEAN Maritime Transport Working Group (2016).