12th Commencement Ceremony of AURAK honours 186 graduates in presence of Sheikh Khalid bin Saud Al Qasimi

A mix of Emirati and international students received their degrees at the 12th Commencement Ceremony of the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK), presided over by Sheikh Khalid bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Vice Chairman of Ras Al Khaimah’s Investment and Development Office and Chairman of Marjan.

Sheikh Khalid conferred degrees on a total of 186 students – 148 bachelor’s degree recipients, 37 master’s graduates and 1 postgraduate certificate in Education – at the formal ceremony, with the US Ambassador to the UAE, H.E. Martina Strong, as the guest of honor.

Close to 50 per cent of the graduates of the AURAK Class of 2023 were female students.

Sheikh Khalid extended his best wishes to the graduates for continued success in all their future endeavors, encouraging them to persist with their studies to achieve their personal goals, and urging them to assume leadership positions where they can meaningfully contribute to the progress and growth of their communities and their country.

Dr. David A. Schmidt, President of AURAK, in his welcome address urged the graduates to ‘appreciate and acknowledge the love, support and friendship from colleagues and parents as well as the role of mentors – the AURAK faculty — who ‘inspired your intellectual curiosity, motivated your learning, provided academic support and often extended many helping hands.’

“As you embark upon this new chapter of your life, I hope your time at AURAK will be fondly reflected upon often.  Although today marks the end of your AURAK journey, you will always be part of the University’s ongoing story. You will now carry forward as AURAK’s legacy and contribute back to your community and society as proud alumni and global citizens.

“Because it will soon be your responsibility to create opportunity, provide support, demonstrate kindness and extend a helping hand to others. Be the ‘lantern’ that lights the way for others.”

The graduates received their degrees in the presence of H.E. Salem Ali Al Sharhan, Chairman of the AURAK Board of Trustees and other board members; H.E. Martina Strong, the United States Ambassador to the UAE; H.E. Meghan Gregonis, the United States Consul General to the UAE; AURAK President David A. Schmidt; and administrative leadership team and faculty of the university.

Delivering the Commencement Speaker’s address, the US Ambassador H.E. Martina Strong focused on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the AURAK graduates in relation to the ongoing historic deliberations at COP28 in Dubai.

She singled out five lessons from COP28 — Always lead with courage and conviction; Remember that in every challenge and in every problem, there lies an opportunity; Don’t leave anyone out or leave anyone behind; Never lose sight of the big picture and of what and who really matters in your lives.

The Ambassador said: “You may wonder why is it that lessons from a conference are so relevant to you and the lives that you hope to lead. And the answer is quite simple. The decisions and actions taken by COP28 will directly impact nearly everything that is important to your future.  The economy, health, environment, climate, the stability and security of practically every international system, all will be shaped by this consequential event.“

The Valedictorian Address was delivered by Mr. Mohammad Rabih Aziz, who said: “Looking back at our ‘eventful’ journey with ups and downs, we learned how to deal with the worst and how to fly high when it’s the best. We were taught a world-class education from equally excellent teachers with access to top-notch tools to aid them… I am a firm believer in what the late Sheikh Zayed said about education, ‘It is like a lantern which lights your way in a dark alley’. Let’s make it our mission to shine light on the world with the lanterns in our hands.”