The International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU) is an international community of universities devoted to excellence in Maritime Education and Training (MET), and excellence in research in the maritime area.
The Association was founded as a non-profit organization by seven Representative universities from five different continents in November 1999.
They shared the idea to recognize the significance of MET in the rapid globalization of the international shipping arena. The founding members of IAMU were:
- Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport (Africa)
- Australian Maritime College (Oceania)
- Cardiff University (Western Europe)
- Istanbul Technical University, Maritime Faculty (Mediterranean, Black Sea, ex Central and Eastern Europe)
- Kobe University of Mercantile Marine (Asia) [now transformed to Kobe University, Faculty of Maritime Sciences]
- Maine Maritime Academy (Americas and Caribbean)
- World Maritime University (General representation)
Since then, IAMU has significantly expanded its membership to now incorporate some 57 universities/academies/faculties of the world’s maritime education and training institutions from 31 countries, together with The Nippon Foundation as its member. These members are divided into three regions – Europe &Africa, Asia&Pacific&Oceania, and Americas. Each region has its representative in the International Executive Board (IEB) of IAMU, which holds its meetings twice a year to discuss the strategic and operational challenges of IAMU and its members.
The IAMU has an Honorary Chair (sensei Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation), the IEB that operated under the supervision of the Chair of IAMU and the IAMU Secretariat, as well as four Standing Committees (Policy and Planning; Academic Affairs; Liaison; Finance) to assist the work of the Chair, IEB and the Executive Director. The Chair is selected by the IEB members for 2-year mandates, and nominations are allowed to come from IAMU member universities. The IEB members include the regional representatives, and the special members’ representatives (World Maritime University and the Nippon Foundation). The IEB is selected based on the votes of the regional members for 2-year mandates. The Secretariat runs under the supervision of the Executive Director, and services the Chair and the Honorary Chair of IAMU.
IAMU has established its brand as a global network of leading maritime universities providing MET of seafarers for the global shipping industry. All members of IAMU share the understanding:
- that globalization has been progressing rapidly in the international shipping arena;
- that Safety, Security and Environmental Protection are crucial issues for the maritime sector; and
- that passing on maritime skills and knowledge to the following generations needs to be achieved on a global scale.
All members of IAMU also recognize the significance of MET and note that:
- the shipping industry is a service industry, in which human resources are the critical element;
- it is only feasible to secure and to preserve highly qualified human resources in the maritime industries through effective education and training; and
- effective education and training in the maritime sector derives from scientific and academic rigor and development of a clear link between practical skills, management techniques and a focus on quality.
Based on this shared understanding, it has been mutually agreed:
- that members shall cooperate with each other in a range of scientific and academic studies, developments, and practical applications associated with Maritime Education and Training;
- that members shall endeavor to achieve measurable and worthwhile outcomes for Maritime Education and Training through IAMU activities;
- that members shall publicize the results of their activities as extensively as possible both within and outside IAMU, and shall endeavor to accumulate scientific results for the benefit of the international maritime community; and
- that the members shall thereby contribute to the enhancement of Maritime Safety, Security and Environmental Protection.
The IAMU hosts its major annual event – the Annual General Assembly (AGA) – since 1999, and IAMU members have the chance to apply to host this event each year. The selection of the host occurs some 2 years prior to the event. The host of IAMU AGA also hosts the two IEB meetings, as well as some of the Standing Committee meetings (others hosted by the current IEB members).
The Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy (NVNA) became a regular IAMU member in 2004 and since then has taken a leading role in the development of the organization. For two consecutive mandates (2012-2014, and 2014-2016) the NVNA serves as regional representative for Europe and takes key role in the IEB activities. Region Europe is the largest region of IAMU comprising some 30 members, not only from European countries, but also from Egypt, Ghana, Georgia, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine. Coordinating the activities of those 30 members requires excellent communication between the regional representative and the Rector/contact persons, engagement of the regional members in the policy and strategy of IAMU, sharing the organizational philosophy and goals of IAMU throughout the regional members.
The NVNA also has representatives in the two standing committees – the Academic Affairs Committee, and the Policy and Planning Committee. NVNA has also hosted two of the Academic Affairs meetings in Varna (in 2013 and 2014) at the premises of the Academy. Academic representatives of the NVNA participate in the AGA events regularly since 2004, presenting papers in the area of MET, or MET-related research activities. NVNA has also sent its student representative at the Student Forum in 2015 in Tokyo, Japan, organized by IAMU following the World Maritime Day. Representatives of NVNA have taken part in two ad-hoc IEB meetings that were intended to set up 2-year action plans for the IEB and IAMU activities.
In the AGA16, held in October 2015 in Opatija, Croatia, the NVNA was selected among several candidates from around the world, to host the AGA and IEB events of IAMU in 2017. This is an act of recognition for the leading role the Academy has played in the IAMU over the years, and an act of trust that the NVNA is capable of bringing the IAMU message forward to the broad international MET and academic maritime community across the world, by also delivering high-class events throughout 2017. Activities regarding preparation for the events in 2017 in Varna have already been initiated, and more information on the timing of the IEB and AGA, key topics of the AGA, proposed venues, call for papers and keynote speaker invitations shall follow.
General information regarding IAMU and forthcoming activities may be found at the IAMU website: www.iamu-edu.org