With over three decades of professional and academic experience, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, an international lawyer, is a global leader on maritime law, labour standards and labour law, and law of international organizations. She is a distinguished academic in the field of international law and an international advocate for sustainability and innovation.
Appointed by the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Dr. Doumbia-Henry became the seventh President and the first woman President from a developing country of the World Maritime University (WMU), a university established within the framework of the IMO. As the Chief Executive Officer of WMU, she oversees and directs the operations and administration of the University, positioning it as the global centre of excellence in maritime and ocean education, research and capacity building, taking on board the UNSDGs.
Prior to joining WMU, Dr. Doumbia-Henry held various senior positions at the International Labour Organization (ILO), another specialized agency of the United Nations. During her tenure as Director of the International Labour Standards Department (first woman Director since the establishment of the ILO in 1919), Dr. Doumbia-Henry was responsible for the ILO’s international labour standards policy and for the ILO’s supervisory bodies and procedures governing international labour standards. She led the department to effectively assist the ILO member States on the implementation of their international obligations (more than 400 Conventions and Recommendations) including through technical assistance, advice, research and capacity building programmes. She spearheaded the development of the innovative and historic ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006 which consolidated 68 international labour instruments. The MLC, 2006 as amended has been ratified to date by 93 member States to date covering more than 80 per cent of the world tonnage of ships. Dr. Doumbia-Henry also led the ILO’s participation in a number of IMO/ILO interagency collaborations on several issues of common interest, including the Joint IMO/ILO Ad Hoc Expert Working Groups on Fair Treatment of Seafarers and on Liability and Compensation regarding Claims for Death, Personal Injury and Abandonment of Seafarers.
Dr. Doumbia-Henry began her career at the University of the West Indies, Barbados, as lecturer in law and later worked at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal in The Hague, the Netherlands and the World Bank. Dr. Doumbia-Henry has dual Dominican and Swiss nationality. Her qualifications include Barrister-at-Law and Solicitor, a PhD and LLM from the University of Geneva, and a LLM and LLB from the University of West Indies. She has published extensively on a wide range of international law subjects. Dr. Doumbia-Henry is fluent in English, French and Spanish.