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AUK Graduates its 10th Class

The American University of Kuwait (AUK) hosted the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2015 at the Kuwait International Fairgrounds in Mishref on Thusday 11 June, where 315 students officially became AUK graduates. The ceremony was attended by Shaikha Dana Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, Founder and Chair of AUK, along with members of the AUK Board of Trustees, diplomats, dignitaries, and the families and friends of this year’s graduates.

Ms. Amal Al-Binali, Vice President for Admissions and Public Affairs, welcomed the guests and family members of the graduates to AUK's 10th graduation ceremony and officially commenced the ceremony by announcing the traditional faculty processional.

The Class of 2015 followed the faculty processional into the hall. The faculty of the College of Arts & Sciences were led by the Associate Dean of the College, Dr. Ali Charara, the faculty of the College of Business & Economics are led by Prof. Rafiqul Bhuyan, Chair of the Department of Finance in the College of Business and Economics, and the students were led by the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Hanan Muzaffar.

The President's party was led by the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Rawda Awwad, bearer of the University mace - a symbol of protection for the University President. She was followed by H.E Nabeela Al-Mulla, Associate Dean for Accreditation in the College of Business and Economics, Dr. Marcelline Fusilier, AUK's Registrar, Dr. Pierre Murr, Chief Information Officer, Mr. Rusty Bruns and AUK President, Dr. Nizar Hamzeh.

Following the processional, graduates and guests were asked to rise for the National Anthem, which was followed by a recitation from the Holy Quran.

After the recitation, Professor Dr. Nizar Hamzeh addressed the graduates and congratulated them for successfully passing a major milestone in their lives and shared with them what he believes all societies need in order to develop and progress. "Commencement has a magical quality of lifting up our line of sight and letting us view our lives across a wide swath of time. I deeply believe that the two most important axioms for development and progress of societies are new ideas and their application on the one hand, and the leaders who will carry those new ideas forward, and bring them into completion on the other." He also took the time to motivate the graduates with a statement he hopes they will always carry with them as graduates of AUK; "Remember where you are from: At AUK, we don't wait for the future. We create it."

The President introduced this year's keynote speaker, H.E Ambassador Al-Mulla, a Representative to NATO, and Former Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to Brussels, Luxembourg, and the European Union, who is also a Former Honorary Member of the AUK Board of Trustees, and invited her to the stage to deliver her keynote address.

H.E Ambassador Al-Mulla, in her keynote address to the students, explained to them that receiving their degrees marked not only an ending of a phase, but a beginning of a new one, and advised them to be honest with themselves and to cast away self-doubt. "Reflect on your decisions, seek advice, but be decisive. Do not agonize over changing tracks if you realize that path is not for you to follow. Your path, even with its detours, is a process of life - like a game of Snakes and Ladders, with its ups and downs. Success and achievements are not take-out orders. Remember that at the end of the day, you have yourself to contend with your integrity and self-satisfaction within," she said.

H.E Ambassador Al-Mulla also reminded the graduates that although they possess their degrees and the skies seem limitless, they must maintain strong roots in the ground. "Yes, you have earned wings, but remember too that you have roots that need to be strengthened and nurtured. You shall embrace the 'global village', but your roots remain at home, with your family and your community. They are your life line; ever present, ever embracing. Be true to them as you remain true to yourself; all inclusive as an achiever," she said.

Following the keynote address, Dr. Hanan Muzaffar, Acting Dean for Student Affairs, explained that all the members of the AUK community who were present, as well as the graduates' families and friends, were at the ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of this generation of Wolfpacks and to wish them great success as they take the experiences and the knowledge that the American University of Kuwait equipped them with, and start building and rebuilding the world. "Gloria Anzaldua, a personal favorite writer of mine, reminds us that awareness of ourselves is vital to affect change in society, adding that "nothing changes in the real world unless it first happens in the images in our head." And I'd say that a university education is the best tool that equips you to be aware of yourself and your possibilities, and the American University of Kuwait especially excels at nurturing these images in your head so you can make them into realities," she said. Dr. Muzaffar then announced this year's valedictorians, Yasser Khalil from the College of Arts & Sciences, who earned the valedictorian distinction with a 3.95 GPA, and Aisha Al-Hunaidi from the College of Business and Economics, who earned the distinction with a 4.0 GPA, and invited Aisha to deliver a speech to her peers and guests.

"We have a great journey ahead of us, one where we can pursue our goals and make our dreams come true. The starting point of all this is today. As a class, we have grown and matured together. We made it through all the hardships and obstacles that we faced with dignity and pride, and we proudly stand here today. I am proud to be part of this class and part of AUK's diverse and active community," said Aisha.

The event then proceeded to the part of the ceremony that the graduates have been anticipating; the distribution of their earned degrees. The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Rawda Awwad, recommended the conferral of degrees for the graduates of the College of Arts & Sciences, while Associate Dean for Accreditation in the College of Business and Economics, Dr. Marcelline Fusilier, recommended the conferral of degrees for the graduates of the College of Business and Economics, to President Hamzeh, who then conferred upon the graduates their respective degrees. The graduates were then awarded their bachelor’s degree diplomas by Dr. Hamzeh, H.E Ambassador Nabeela Al-Mulla, Dr. Rawda Awwad, and Dr. Marcelline Fusilier.

In keeping with the academic tradition, the graduates were requested to shift their tassels from right to left, thereby marking their official graduation from AUK. As the ceremony drew to its conclusion, the graduating class celebrated the traditional cutting of the Class of 2015 cake, and took photos with their families and friends.

Click on the image to view the Photo Gallery

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 16th June 2015

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