Celebrity Cruises has announced a unique partnership with the Regional Maritime University (RMU) in Ghana. For the first time in cruise industry history, female bridge officers will be openly recruited from a West African country through a new Celebrity Cadet Program in partnership with RMU.

With the announcement, the brand is also excited to 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.

Celebrity’s President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, said:

“After hearing Nicholine’s story, I met with our SVP of Global Marine Operations, Patrik Dahlgren, to see what we needed to do in order to give her, and others, the opportunities they’ve earned. A year later, I’m so excited to share the news of our partnership with RMU and to welcome Nicholine onboard.”

“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.”

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 shared her inspiring story of perseverance; Tifuh Azirh 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.

FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg, said:

“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.”

“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. We are so proud to have been a part of Nicholine’s journey to a successful career!”

Patrik Dahlgren, SVP of Global Marine Operations, Celebrity Cruises, said:

“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.”

“Nicholine is our pioneer cadet and a pioneer for women in her country; moving forward, we will continue to evaluate candidates and continue to push the envelope in developing a growth sector for marine officers in a part of the world that traditionally

“Nicholine is our pioneer cadet and a pioneer for women in her country; moving forward, we will continue to evaluate candidates and continue to push the envelope in developing a growth sector for marine officers in a part of the world that traditionally underserves female officers.”

Tifuh Azirh is scheduled to join the Celebrity Equinox family on August 27, 2017.