IAMU held an extraordinary International Executive Board meeting in Tokyo this February. The new Board members, who will be a keystone of IAMU from April 2018, discussed future action plans at this first meeting. The meeting contents and future IAMU activities are outlined below.

In November 1999, IAMU was established by 7 maritime universities in five countries. These maritime universities all have bachelor-level of seafarer training courses and also postgraduate courses. In 2007, IAMU was certified as a non-governmental organization (NGO), qualified with the IMO (International Maritime Organization), and has expanded the scope of its activities not only to higher education research institutions but also to activities with the international maritime society.

At the end of 2017, the number of IAMU member universities was 63 universities in 35 countries. IAMU is the world’s largest international association of maritime education institutions.

The activities of IAMU are carried out by the Executive Board members, which include the new chair of IAMU Mr. Thomas Cropper, President of California State University Maritime Academy, the Executive Board members consisting of nine universities selected from member universities, the IAMU Secretariat and the Nippon Foundation. The Nippon Foundation supports IAMU not only by financial assistance, but also give opinions on the ideals and significance of activities from the stages of preparation. Mr. Yohei Sasagawa, President of the Nippon Foundation, has been appointed honorary chairman of IAMU since 2005.

The necessity of a unified and high-quality curriculum for the education and training of seafarers was discussed from the beginning of IAMU’s establishment. However, it was difficult to come to universal conclusions, as the member universities and state policies, conditions, and economic situations of each country are different. The previous International Executive Board members started to consider these problems in 2016, and launched a Working Group that conducted a survey on the feasibility of the unified curriculum for education and training of seafarers at maritime universities. After discussions at the 2016 and 2017 Annual General Assemblies, it was decided to newly start this framework through the perspective of the “Global Maritime Professional”.

This framework begins with clarifying the image of professionals in the international maritime society and categorizes required competencies. These include the basic capabilities for seafarers required by the STCW Convention (The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers), as well as academic abilities including research and leadership.