IAMU to meet in San Francisco this Fall

This fall (October 19-21) the International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU) will meet in San Francisco for its 9th Annual General Assembly under the theme, Common Seas, Common Shores – The New Maritime Community.

The IAMU (www.iamu-edu.org) was first established in November of 1999 by seven universities representing the five continents of the world and with a shared recognition of the critical importance of maritime education and training in the rapid globalization of the international shipping arena. Since then, IAMU has significantly expanded its membership, and now boasts 46 of the world’s leading maritime education and training universities and faculties, and The Nippon Foundation of Japan as its members, totaling 47 altogether.

The IAMU was formed to share best practices among the world’s leading maritime education institutions.  Of note was a stipulation that an organization must offer programs above and beyond those required for deck and engineering licensure to become an IAMU member.
At the same time, the IAMU institutions played an important role, in conjunction with the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO), in the creation of international licensure standards – the criteria now known industry-wide as STCW.  However, IAMU members recognized that the temptation might be, in the effort to find international consensus, to set a low qualification baseline.  Their goal was to keep those standards at a higher level to assure our schools would produce truly qualified personnel for the maritime industry worldwide.
IAMU was founded with common goals:  To keep our oceans safe and to serve as good environmental stewards.  Our work has been aided and supported by the Nippon Foundation which has, over the years, helped fund our Annual General Assembly gatherings worldwide….Sweden, China and the Ukraine in recent years and coming up, our ninth AGA in San Francisco.
Each AGA brings together both administrators and scholars from member institutions to network and to share research, studies and ideas.  A pedagogic process includes an early call for submission of research papers, a screening to select the best and timeliest of those submissions, and their presentation by the scholars who prepared them, at a series of morning and afternoon seminars during the AGA itself. 
The papers are also compiled and published in hard copy, and posted on the net in electronic form as a set of formal Proceedings.  Libraries of member institutions make the Proceedings available for ongoing research work in the maritime and maritime education field.  (Copies of past Proceedings can be obtained via the Cal Maritime Library.  For more information, contact Library Director Carl Phillips at cphillips@csum.edu.)
The AGA is also a chance for top students from our member campuses around the world to learn more about the IAMU structure and be part of this lively annual exchange of ideas.  Each member institution is invited to send at least one of its cadets to the AGA.  This year, those students will be coming to the Cal Maritime campus during AGA 9 to network with our students, attend classes, exchange ideas and resources, and in some cases, even take part in some lively competition in our new Bridge Simulator.  It’s a wonderful way for students to gain a better recognition of their place as members of a global community and of their role as global stewards of knowledge, learning and the environment.  As potential future leaders of our industry, it provides them with an invaluable experience and perspective.
For information about this year’s AGA 9 program visit www.csum.edu/IAMU2008.htm
Bill Eisenhardt is the president of the California Maritime Academy, Vallejo, Cal. www.csum.edu.
By Professional Mariner Staff