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AUK Graduation Ceremony 2009

Mishref, Kuwait, June 18, 2009: The Graduation Ceremony of the Class of 2009 at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) took place at Kuwait International Fairgrounds (KIF) at 7 PM on Thursday, June 18, and saw 266 students graduate, under the patronage of His Excellency, former Oil Minister, Sheikh Saud Al-Nasir Al-Sabah, who was also the keynote speaker.

A view of hall 8 where the AUK graduation cermony took place.

Sarah Boodai welcomes AUK guests before the beginning of the ceremony.

The ceremony commenced with the Kuwaiti national anthem and a recitation of the Holy Quran followed by a speech by Dr. Nizar Hamzeh, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences who welcomed students, their families and guests to the ceremony. President of the University, Dr. Marina Tolmacheva then stepped to the podium and spoke about the graduating class and their many achievements. She said, "Under the tutelage of the AUK faculty, these seniors have mastered the knowledge of their field, the ability to think critically, the art of effective communication, and the respect for diversity, be that diversity national, ethnic, cultural, or intellectual. Our students have distinguished themselves in and outside the classroom." President Marina also read a congratulatory message from Dartmouth to AUK's graduating class saying, "Dartmouth congratulates you on your many accomplishments. As you graduate from AUK, remember that you have played a large role in shaping this community. You take that community with you. It will always be a part of your lives, as you will always be part of AUK."

The processional led by AUK faculty.

Left to right: Sheikh abdala Salem Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah, Sheikha Dana Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah and US Ambassador Deborah Jones.

A recitation of the Holy Quran by Abdulrahman Al-Farhan.

AUK and Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire (USA), have worked closely together since 2003, when the two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding that facilitated a series of advisory, consultative, and cooperative projects. That initial agreement was renewed in June 2008 to extend through 2013.

The President then introduced the keynote speaker Sheikh Saud Al-Nasir Al-Sabah, a former Ambassador to Great Britain and the United States and former Oil Minister, who happens to be the father of one of AUK's adjunct faculty members and also the father of one of this year's graduates. He began by reminding the graduates of how lucky they are to not have to travel thousands of miles for a good quality American education. He then asked the graduates to "Remember one thing, you have your whole life ahead of you, the hard work is behind you, choose your life the way you want it." Sheikh Saud continued by encouraging students to head to the private sector where, he says, the challenge is. On a lighter note, Sheikh Saud commented on the topic of segregation in universities by saying, "I am happy to see a non-segregated union of our students," adding that this is the only proper way of preparing graduates for the real world. Sheikh Saud ended his speech by reminding the graduates of how proud of them he is.

The president of the American University of Kuwait Dr. Marina Tolmacheva.

His Excellency, former Oil Minister& the keynote speaker, Sheikh Saud Al-Nasir Al-Sabah .

Each graduate was then presented with her or his bachelor's degree diploma by Dr. Tolmacheva and Sheikh Saud Al-Nasir Al-Sabah, and Dr. Nizar Hamzeh- Dean of College of Arts and Sciences.

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. Nizar Hamzeh.

Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Carol Ross.

Moving the tassels from right to left.

Class of 2009 Valedictorian, Dina El-Zohairy.

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. Nizar Hamzeh and President Marina Tolmacheva then conferred upon the graduates their respective degrees, and in keeping with the academic tradition, the graduates were asked to move their tassels from right to left, thereby marking their official graduation from AUK.

Class of 2009 Valedictorian, Dina El-Zohairy, rose to the podium to deliver her speech, which was both inspiring and encouraging. "As hard as it is to leave our comfort zone, we have reached a turning point in our lives at which we need to pause and consider our role beyond AUK, as model citizens of the world and agents of change in our societies,"she said. "Think not of the degree you have earned as a ticket to self-motivated goals, but as a ticket of opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people around you, especially given the tough times in which we are graduating."

Dina is graduating with a BBA degree in Management, and has earned the highest cumulative grade point average of this graduating class. A month ago, she joined AUK's Student Affairs crew as a full-time employee in the Office of the Registrar. Dina has been an active member of The Voice of AUK, worked as a student employee in the Office of Admissions and Center for Continuing Education and teamed up with Dr. Mourad Dakhli on a paper presented at AUK's 4th Liberal Arts Conference. Dina also did freelance work in writing and translation for Dar al-Tarjama and the Canadian Commercial Circle of Kuwait.

Following Dina's speech, another student, Shoug Al-Othman gave a motivational speech whereby she encouraged her fellow graduates to have faith in themselves and their abilities and to "Set aside your fear of losing and work with your dreams and ambitions as they will guide you towards achieving your goals."

Shoug Al-Othman, motivational speaker.

Sheikh abdala Salem Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah, Sheikha Dana Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah with Shoug Al-Othman & her family.

The end of the ceremony was marked by the traditional cutting of the Class of 2009 cake in the reception area of the Hall, and professional photography was provided for all graduates and their families and friends.

The traditional cutting of the Class of 2009 cake.

Portraits of graduates, their families & friends.





Released by the PR & Marketing Department

Photography by the AUK Public Relations & Marketing Department (C)2009

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