Eighteen students from the Caribbean Maritime University received a financial boost in light of setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, when the American Caribbean Maritime Foundation (ACMF) committed to funding their undergraduate tuition to the duration of their programme.
The Foundation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is planning to donate 18 laptops to the CMU to support students with resource challenges for online learning.
President and Executive Director of the ACMF, Dr. Geneive Brown Metzger, made the announcements during a recent ceremony held recently to introduce the 18 beneficiaries who will be recognized at the Foundation’s annual award and gala to be held tomorrow October 2, 2020.
The ACMF, a US-based non-profit organization, each year hosts the Anchor Awards in New York to recognize pioneers in the maritime industry and CMU students who have demonstrated strong academic performance, leadership, and service to the community.
According to Dr. Brown Metzger, this year’s virtual event will showcase the contribution of two honourees to the shipping sector, along with the work of Foundation with ACMF scholars and grantees. “There are two honourees, Win Thurber, Chairman of Norton Lilly International, the largest shipping agency in North America; and Risk Sasso, Chairman of MSC Cruises,” Brown Metzger shared.
Building on its own commitment to address the diversity of need among Caribbean students and develop infrastructure to increase capacity in maritime training institutions, the ACMF, since its establishment in 2016, has contributed over $45 million in funds to students across the Caribbean region.
“We [ACMF] are extremely proud of the partnership we have with the CMU and what we have been able to accomplish since the start of the Foundation,” Brown Metzger expressed.
In speaking to the importance of Anchor Awards, she shared that it is ‘more than the awards.’ For Brown Metzger it is about helping to transform the lives of Caribbean youth. “We are on a mission to safeguard access for young deserving future mariners to the industry. It is vital that indigenous Caribbean people have leadership roles and are vested in the industry,” she noted. “However, a big part of that is ensuring we have a trained cadre of industry-ready graduates to take up these jobs.”
Much like Brown Metzger, deputy president at the CMU, Prof. Ibrahim Ajagunna, said the ACMF has done a tremendous job supporting Caribbean students who have the ambition, but lack the financial support.
“Over the last three years, several CMU students have benefitted greatly from the generosity of the ACMF.” Many of these students, he said, consider the support from the ACMF as ‘life-changing. “The reality is, without this support from the ACMF, it would be difficult for these students to complete their academic studies.”
Speaking on behalf of this year’s beneficiaries Dahlia Blake, a second-year logistics student, pointed out that, the ACMF provides well-needed opportunities for students who are ignited with a passion for success, but lack the financial support. For her part, she also noted that: “This Foundation has given me a second chance at pursuing my academic goals, as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted my academic plans for the upcoming year.”
The mission of the ACMF is to alleviate poverty and transform lives in the Caribbean through maritime education and community development.
The ACMF Awards and Gala will broadcast on www.acmfdn.org; and can be viewed on Facebook live. Tickets are now available at a cost of $150 US each. Proceeds with go to the Foundation’s charitable activities.