Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, the President of the American University of Sharjah (AUS), commended the graduating students during the university’s Spring 2023 Commencement ceremony. She acknowledged their resilience and emphasized that they are well-prepared for real-life challenges, having completed their studies amidst the unprecedented global pandemic.
Marching to the rousing ‘Towards a New Life’, Op. 35c by Josef Suk, 670 undergraduate and graduate students followed the banners representing their four colleges amid cheers from friends and families, to take their place on the stage and receive their degrees.
Sheikha Bodour congratulated the graduates and shared three reflections that had shaped her life, quoting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Maya Angelou, and Gibran Khalil Gibran respectively.
She said: ‘Do not twist yourself to please others. When you’re young, it’s hard to assert your cultural identity for fear of being rejected. Always remember who you are and where you came from (…) People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. It’s easy to focus on individual success and overlook the importance of kindness. A small act of kindness has an impact far beyond our immediate perception; be kind to yourself, be kind to your parents, and to those less fortunate than you (…) Trust in dreams for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Let your dreams guide you and allow them to ignite your passion. You’ll be surprised how much you can achieve and contribute to the world.’
In her opening remarks, AUS Chancellor Dr. Susan Mumm wished the Class of Spring 2023 continued success.
‘Congratulations on this remarkable achievement. You have persevered to reach where you are today, joining a growing community of AUS alumni who have distinguished themselves through their personal and professional accomplishments. As you know, we have celebrated AUS’ 25 years of excellence and the vision of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and Founder of AUS, over the past year. We look forward to the next 25. We want to build on our successes to secure a better tomorrow for all. AUS has impressively carved a place for itself in the world as a highly reputed academic institution and research centre, nurturing graduates of the highest caliber, and you are living proof of the transformational power of an AUS education,’ she said.
During the ceremony, Sheikha Bodour awarded Hind Khalid Alharmoodi, a civil engineering major, and Zaineh Moez Al-Nasser, an electrical engineering major, the President’s Cup for the highest grade point average, and Rameesha Nayyer Siddiqi, a finance major, the Chancellor’s Cup for an outstanding combination of academic excellence, general character, and service to the university. Siddiqi achieved a GPA of 3.84 and was active in the Student Leadership Programme; took part in community service and outreach initiatives; and served on the boards of the Gastronomy Club, Pakistani Cultural Club, and the AUS Student Council. She was also the recipient of the Active Student Scholarship Spring 2022 and worked as a Peer Mentor from 2021 to 2023.
Addressing the graduating class of Spring 2023 was student speaker Sarah Jamjoom, who said: ‘We will go on to become the leaders of tomorrow… I cannot guarantee this path will be easy. We will face challenges… nonetheless, we will leave this hall equipped to face what is out there. We will adapt and grow in the real world just as we learned to adapt to the diverse social settings and the rigorous academic environment at AUS. Let us push beyond our comfort zones and leave our mark wherever we step. Let us recognize our talents, nurture them, and build on them. As Sheikha Bodour once said, “We all have gifts and talents to bring to the world, so let them shine.”’