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American University of Kuwait Graduation Ceremony 2011

Mishref, Kuwait, June 16, 2011: The Graduation Ceremony of the Class of 2011 at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) took place at Kuwait International Fairgrounds (KIF) at 10 am on Thursday, June 16. The ceremony commenced with the Kuwaiti national anthem and a recitation of the Holy Quran. Graduates then began to march towards the stage waving to their friends and families as they took their seats. AUK President Winfred Thompson then welcomed students, and their families to the ceremony as well as AUK Chair Sheikha Dana Nasser Al-Sabah along with several board members and numerous dignitaries and diplomats.


Click on the image for a PDF download

In his opening remarks, Dr. Thompson addressed how the region and the Arab world are at the cusp of a new chapter in history, facing uncertain times and an unknown future, but "What I can hope-and even, I think, predict-is that your education at AUK will help you to better face the challenges of your life, fulfill your plans for the future, and reward the hopes and dreams of your parents and your families".

The President then introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, a Kuwaiti clinical psychologist and creator of THE 99, the first group of comic superheroes born of an Islamic archetype. Dr. Naif's speech focused on three major points, education and innovation, balancing one's life and entrepreneurship, all told through personal anecdotes. Dr. Naif explored the reality of our present situation in the Arab world and encouraged graduates to work towards a better future. "I have spent the last two years trying to balance my life out. I am still a work in progress. You too will be works in progress your whole life. Working too much was my drug and I numbed myself. I implore you, don't let complacency be yours. We need you to create jobs, not just consume them. You are the future." He concluded his speech on an inspiration note, letting the graduates know that "anything is possible; anything at all."

Click here for the Graduation 2011 Slideshow

Vice President of Administrative and Student Affairs Dr. Carol Ross-Scott then introduced the Class of 2011 Valedictorian, Laila Al-Daghestani. Laila rose to the podium to deliver her speech, which was both moving and insightful. She spoke of the uncertainty of the future and the challenges that lay ahead for her and her fellow graduates saying, "Graduation is about so much more than a simple ceremony; it is a rite of passage. At this turning point, we come to the end of a long and trying journey, and we brace ourselves for the entirely new and infinitely more challenging one that lies ahead. It is our job, as the generation soon to be handed the reins of leadership, to bring upon progress to our world. To do that we must find the right path leading towards a better tomorrow." Laila, on behalf of the Class of 2011, ended her speech by thanking parents, families, professors, teachers, advisors and friends that have helped the graduates in their journey.

Laila is graduating with a BA degree in Communication and Media and a minor in History, and has earned the highest cumulative grade point average of this graduating class.

Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. Nizar Hamzeh recommended the conferral of degrees to President Thompson who then conferred upon the 471 graduates their respective degrees. Graduates were then presented with their bachelor's degree diploma by President Thompson, Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa and Dr. Nizar Hamzeh, 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.

The ceremony also included the traditional cutting of the Class of 2011 cake, and professional photography was provided for all graduates and their families and friends.



AUK student Faisal Al-Bahairi plays music before the beginning of the ceremony


Scenes from the processional starting with AUK faculty


Scenes from the processional - AUK students


Scenes from the processional - AUK students


Scenes from the processional - AUK students


President Party: (left to right) Dr. Dale Eickelman, Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa & Dr. Winfred Thompson


Welcoming remarks by the President of the American University of Kuwait, Dr. Winfred Thompson


The ceremony was attended by the AUK Chair Sheikha Dana Nasser Al-Sabah along with several board members


The ceremony commenced with the Kuwaiti National Anthem and a recitation of the Holy Quran recited by AUK graduate Abdulrahman Al-Farhan


A view of the audience


Graduates during the ceremony


AUK faculty attending the ceremony


Graduates during the ceremony


Graduates during the ceremony


Graduates during the ceremony


The keynote speaker, Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa


The Class of 2011 Valedictorian, Laila Al-Daghestani


Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. Nizar Hamzeh


Graduates receive their diplomas from Dr. Thompson


Graduates receive their diplomas from Dr. Thompson


Sara Boodai, Marketing Development Officer with students


AUK traditional cake cutting ceremony symbolizing how sweet life becomes after graduation. From left to right: Dr. Al-Mutawa, Dr. Thompson, Ms. Al-Daghestani & Dr. Hamzeh


The graduates moving their tassels from right to left, thereby marking their official graduation from AUK


Dr. Carol Ross-Scott, Vice President for Administrative & Student Affairs introduces the AUK valedictorian for 2010/2011 academic year


The mace bearer Dr. Nizar Hamzeh, Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences


Students with Dr. Carol Ross-Scott


Portraits of graduates, their families & friends


Portraits of graduates, their families & friends


Portraits of graduates, their families & friends


Portraits of graduates, their families & friends


Portraits of graduates, their families & friends




Released by the PR & Marketing Department on the 19th June 2011

Photography by the AUK Public Relations & Marketing Department (C) 2011



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