Duhok, Kurdistan Region of Iraq – September 20th, 2019- The American University of Kurdistan held its first-ever commencement ceremony on Thursday, September 19th, a historic event attended by the President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, HE Nechirvan Barzani, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government and AUK’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees HE Masrour Barzani, Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament HE Mohammed Al-Halbousi, USA Ambassador to Iraq HE Mathew H. Tueller, parliament members, ministers, diplomats, members of the board of trustees, staff, faculty members, and families of the graduates who congratulated the new diploma-holders and the institution as a whole.
The first Processional of AUK started at 6:30 with Sir Edgar Elgar’s pomp and circumstances, leading the procession Faculty Marshall Prof. Dr. Paul-Philippe Paré (the mace carrier) followed by the members of the board of trustees, thirty-one faculty members, and twenty-nine graduating students.
After the processional and live performance for the national anthems of Iraq and KRI, President Menzies of AUK charged the graduates. “There is no place on earth so dark or hopeless that you cannot make a difference. Graduates, wherever you go, make every place better for your presence. Change comes through individual lives and deeds.” Said AUK President, Dr. John Menzies in his speech.
Following AUK President’s welcoming, were remarks from AUK’s Chairman of the BoT and KRG’s Prime Minister HE Masrour Barzani who started his speech by addressing the progress that has been made as a result of a hard work and generosity of many, thanking President and leader HE Masoud Barzani, KRI President HE Nechirvan Barzani, the Peshmarga and others for their service and loyalty.
“To the AUK President, Provost, Professors, Faculty and Staff, I’m very deeply grateful to you for your contribution and leadership. Of course, this could not have been done without the support of Rania Majeed, the chair of the AUK Foundation, and the board members who have done so much, to raise money to the university.” His excellency added.
KRI President opened his speech by congratulating the graduates and their families on this day, thanking AUK President, faculty and staff members for this achievement. As well as a special thanks and recognition for the Chairman’s vision for establishing this prestigious university.
Matthew H. Tueller, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, focused on the institution’s goal “to establish a culture of respect and a culture of respect.” In his remarks.
Final speech before the conferring of degrees, the American University of Beirut’s Dr. Fadlo Khuri and AUK’s member of the board of trustees, who have addressed the graduates with a motivating speech.
Twenty-nine students celebrated the culmination of their academic achievements in Business Management, Accounting, Oil and Gas Management, Interior Design, International Relations, and Security and Strategic Studies.
“Today, we take the final step in our college experience. Our hard work and long hours of studying have finally paid off.” Said Tania Junaid, AUK’s Valedictorian of class 2019 in her speech. “I wish all my fellow students all the happiness and fortune this life has to offer.” She added.
More than a hundred and fifty AUK students volunteered during the event which made it a record-breaking contribution from the student body.
After the conferral of degrees and the valedictory was the recessional of the BoT members, faculty members and graduate students following the Mace of AUK.
“The AUK mace is made of dark walnut wood. Atop the mace is the university seal, displayed on gold-plated bronze medals on both sides of a walnut wooden disk.” Said Bina Qeredaxi, AUK’s Communications Manager “The mace adds meaning and dignity to the commencement ritual. It reminds both participants and spectators that education is one of the most cherished attributes of a free and democratic society.” She added.
The ceremony was concluded with a concert celebrating the graduates, featuring young singers Alind Hazim and Agreen Dilshad, leading the band renowned musician Nwenar Abubakir.
The American University of Kurdistan will be recognized as a premier institution of higher education in the Middle East and beyond by cultivating academic excellence, fostering creativity, and engaging in the highest caliber of applied research.