"The goal of our partnership with RMU is to inspire and disrupt the social norms that burden female officers in western African nations, such as Ghana," said Patrik Dahlgren, SVP of Global Marine Operations, Celebrity Cruises.
With the announcement, the brand will welcome the first official new crew member from the program, RMU Cadet Nicholine Tifuh Azirh, who will be joining the bridge team onboard Celebrity Equinox.
The partnership with RMU came about when Celebrity's President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo met with students from the Mandela Washington Fellowship at Florida International University (FIU). There, she met Tifuh Azirh, who holds two degrees, yet following graduation she struggled to find opportunities in the maritime industry as an African female despite her academic performance, subsequent teaching at RMU, and cadet experience.
"Nicholine isn't just a new-hire, she symbolizes hope for women around the world who dream of working in a very male-dominated industry; she's the face of our industry-leading partnership; and she is an incredible example of Celebrity's commitment to opening up the world", said Lutoff-Perlo.
Tifuh Azirh is scheduled to join the Celebrity Equinox family on August 27, 2017.
"Nicholine's success is our entire world's success. Her story shows the power of win-win partnerships and the positive impact they have on our communities – and beyond," said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. "FIU is proud to be the only university in Florida to host the Department of State's Mandela Washington Fellows program – and use our resources, talent and partnerships to help prepare the next generation of our world's leaders."