AUC Celebrates June 2017 Graduate Commencement Ceremony

Press release
Published June 12th, 2017 - 06:00 GMT
The ceremony also witnessed the graduation of 24 international students this semester.
The ceremony also witnessed the graduation of 24 international students this semester.

The American University in Cairo (AUC) held yesterday the graduate commencement ceremony for 124 master’s and seven PhD students. The ceremony also witnessed the graduation of 24 international students this semester. “Our graduate programs prepare students to meet the challenges of the future with courage, compassion and creativity,” said AUC President Francis J. Ricciardone at the ceremony. In addition to the graduates, Mohammed Swillam, associate professor in the Department of Physics, received the Faculty Merit Award. David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) from the University by President Ricciardone at the ceremony.

As President Ricciardone noted, this degree was presented to Miliband in recognition of his “global leadership and accomplishment in addressing the massive refugee crisis now devastating the lives of tens of millions, and which will afflict our world for generations to come.”

Addressing Miliband, Ricciardone noted, “Your compassion and dedication to human rights around the world distinguish your humanitarian service in both the public and nonprofit sectors. ... As the President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Rescue Committee, you raise world consciousness and thus help lead the global policy and operational responses to the current humanitarian disasters.”

In his commencement address to the graduating class, Miliband called for fighting global divisions. “The world is more interconnected than ever before, but the great danger is that we are consumed by the divisions between us,” he said. “That is the danger that I fight every day in my work. That is the threat that I see in this region. ...And that is what I would ask you, using the knowledge and skills you have developed here, to fight against.”

Emphasizing AUC’s role in achieving global unity, “This institution embodies the best aspirations of higher learning, the ability to break down barriers between people, to respect different opinions, to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and to pass on that knowledge to the next generation,” remarked Miliband. “[It is] a University that espouses pluralism, critical inquiry and mutual respect located in the crossroads between North and South, East and West. It is indicative that the word Cairo and American are bound together in your name. We need more institutions like AUC, building the links that are vital in an interdependent world.”

Miliband also urged graduating students to use their remarkable network to benefit from different points of view, carry on learning throughout their lives and become a part of the global conversation. “Our job, together, whatever our field, public, private or non-profit sector, is to stand against division and embrace a world of connections, diversity, and compassion,” he affirmed. “It is the best of humanity, which we must defend together. I look forward to doing so with you.”

Ana Carol Torres Gutierrez, a Mexican student who graduated with a Master of Arts in Middle East studies, was this year’s graduate class representative. “I’ve always believed that education is not confined to classroom walls,” she remarked. “The biggest lessons and skills I’ve acquired during my master’s studies were facilitated by the mere opportunity I was granted, through the International Graduate Fellowship offered by AUC, to come to Egypt.”

“Four years later, as I stand here in front you, leaving again,” she continued. “I can tell you that I am eternally grateful for taking a chance on my dream, taking a chance on Egypt, and that you will never be truly successful until you dare to give beyond yourself. If you decide to live by love and not by fear, to turn fear into power, then today is not the end, but the beginning of your learning.”

Background Information

American University of Cairo

Founded in 1919, AUC is a leading English-language, American-accredited institution of higher education and center of intellectual, social and cultural life of the Arab world. Its community of students, parents, faculty and staff, trustees, alumni and other generous sponsors represent more than 60 countries. The University stands as a crossroads for the world’s cultures and a vibrant forum for reasoned argument, spirited debate and understanding across the diversity of languages, facilities and human experiences.

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