AUIS Graduates | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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AUIS Graduates

AUIS to Host Second Annual Commencement Ceremony in May

Sulaimani, Iraq – May 25, 2013 – The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) will host its second annual commencement exercises on May 30.  Nearly 1,000 family members, friends, and distinguished guests are expected to attend the event held on the AUIS campus. The ceremony will be presided over by Chairman of the Board of Trustees Dr. Barham Salih and AUIS President Dr. Athanasios Moulakis. Featured speakers include His Excellency Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government; Mr. Douglas Silliman, Chargé d'Affaires of the United States Embassy in Baghdad; and His Excellency Ali Saeed, Minister of Higher Education for the Kurdistan Regional Government. Ms. Jwan Sarbast Kittani has been selected as a student speaker for her stellar academic performance. Update: Selected speeches now available Nechirvan Barzani Athanasios Moulakis Douglas Silliman Jwan Sarbast Kittani Baccalaureate degrees in Business Administration, Information Technology, and International Studies will be awarded to 54 students.  An additional 29 students will receive a degree of Master of Business Administration. Most members of this graduating class have already secured positions in a wide range of fields, including banking and finance, construction, and the oil and gas sector.  Among the graduates are an account executive at an emerging marketing firm based in Sulaimani; a lab technician at an international oil company with offices in Erbil; an analyst at a major investment firm in Baghdad; and an auditor at a leading professional services corporation with offices throughout the Middle East.  Others are starting their own businesses or will pursue advanced studies in Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  Included among them are an Ibn Khaldun Scholar, multiple scholarship awardees at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), and a fellowship recipient at Missouri State University. The event, which will be held on the spacious and picturesque patio in the foreground of the University’s administration building, begins promptly at 5:30pm.  An indoor reception for all attendees will immediately follow. About AUIS Founded in 2006, AUIS is Iraq’s only non-profit institution for public benefit. Academic programs, taught in the English language by international faculty members, are designed to meet or exceed standards set by regional accreditation organizations in the United States.   Students at AUIS come from all over Iraq and represent the country’s diverse ethnic and religious landscape.  Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Christians, Yezidis et al. populate the growing student body. Mission Statement It is the objective of the University to produce graduates of responsible character with the necessary knowledge and skills for professional and national leadership. Students will be prepared for successful careers in a modern, pluralistic society and in a global environment. The educational programs of the University are designed to develop strength in critical thinking, the ability to communicate well, a strong work ethic, good citizenship and personal integrity. Broad-based education, rooted in the American liberal arts tradition, as well as skill development is achieved at the University through teaching excellence, quality scholarship, and caring student services.

4th Annual Commencement Ceremony

  The commencement speakers included Jane Arraf, Middle East correspondent for Al-Jazeera English; Dr. Amanj Saeed, advisor to and official representative of the KRG Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Professor David Clough from University of Colorado Boulder. The ceremony was presided over by the AUIS Interim President Dr. Esther Mulnix and Vice President for University Advancement, Dr. Hemin Latif.   In her commencement address, Arraf urged the students to really “figure out their dreams” and to look for work that they have a passion and motivation for. She also advised them to rely on hard work and fairness in pursuing their careers, and to not back down from challenges. “Do not be afraid to try new things. Don’t let your life be guided by fear,” she said, adding, “Never stop asking questions. It’s your privilege and right.” She congratulated the diverse student body and urged them to stand up for the same principles in their future lives, never settling for injustice and discrimination. Dr. Saeed and Professor Clough also congratulated the graduates and AUIS for all their achievements.   In her address to the new graduates, Interim President, Dr. Esther Mulnix urged the Class of 2015 to build upon the knowledge, skills and values learned at the University, “During your life-journey, remember that the value of democracy needs to be tempered by responsibility and respect for your community. We hope you will be open to the richness differences bring, and that you will reflect critically to construct a better world. Begin in earnest to give back much of what you have received.” The first student address was delivered by valedictorian Nawaf Ashur Yousif, a business administration graduate, a member of the Yezidi community from the troubled Shingal region of Iraq. He urged his fellow graduates to use the knowledge and skills gained at the University to give back to their communities. “I am delighted that I spent four years with roommates and classmates from Dayala, Anbar, Baghdad, Basrah, Chamchamal, Erbil and Sulaimani, but it saddens me to remember that many of us are moving back to tents or cities far from our homes. AUIS brought us together in an intellectual and cultural environment that was far from the political struggles of our country. But should our dreams end today? And stay within the walls of this university?” he said in his speech. “AUIS has given us the knowledge, self-esteem and determination to journey through life with independence and wisdom. For the last four or five years every one of us has learned enough to be a part of a social solution to the problems facing our region. We should start making good decisions today to guide and reform our history. When we pass through that door, we will always remember that we were here for a reason. I wish you all the best in the pursuit of your dreams and I hope together we will work towards building a better future.” Shan Hiwa Omer, MBA valedictorian, talked about the role of education in transforming societies. “When we educate ourselves, we are not only growing as individuals, but as a community, and with us our larger society will grow as well. We are at the forefront of change in our region and it is an obligation for us graduates to help our communities and improve the quality of life in our societies; so that everyone can reach their fullest potential,” she said, addressing fellow graduates. The last student speaker of the day was Zmnako Muhammed Ahmed, an IT graduate, who spoke about his personal story of resilience and success. Zmnako is the youngest survivor of the chemical attack on Halabja and was adopted and raised by an Iranian family. Later, in 2009, he returned to be reunited with his own mother in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. He was offered a full scholarship by AUIS Chairman Dr. Barham Salih to complete his education. He urged graduates to use their education to influence and empower communities and to advance peace in the region. “As the next generation, we are the hope for the future. Studying at AUIS has empowered us to improve our future and our communities, so we can look forward to a future with no hatred, war or violence.” The ceremony was attended by almost 1000 family members and distinguished guests, which included AUIS Board of Trustees members Azzam Alwash and Kamaran Ahmed, Speaker of KRG Parliament Yousif Muhammed Sadiq, Sulaimani Governor Aso Fereydoon,  Former KRG Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Ali Saeed, and presidents of KRG universities along with donors and sponsors. View photos of the commencement ceremony on our Facebook page.
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