Ms. Cheri Booth Keynote Speaker at AUD's 9th Commencement
Under the Patronage and in the Presence of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minster of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, The American University in Dubai held its Ninth Commencement Exercises on May13 in the Sheikh Rashid Hall of the Dubai International World Trade Center.
An audience of approximately 3,500, including several dignitaries and other prominent members of the local UAE community, attended the Ceremony at which 320 students (including 23 graduate students) received their American-accredited degrees in the fields of Business Administration, Engineering, Visual Communication, Information technology and Interior design.
In his welcoming address, Mr Elias Bou Saab, Executive Vice President, said that The American University in Dubai evolved from a simple dream to one of the greatest educational institutions of higher learning in this region. He added that this was only the beginning as the university will achieve much more, just as the Emirate of Dubai has and continues to develop, prosper and evolve.
Mr Bou Saab thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohammed for being the role model "You have taught us courage, determination and leadership. This leadership has served as a role model for our graduates who will go on to make a difference in their communities.
Ms Cheri Booth, Noted British Attorney and Human Rights Advocate, wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair delivered the keynote speech to AUD's graduating class.
In describing Ms Booth, The New York Times wrote: "Cherie Blair is viewed as something of a wonder woman for her ability to balance her high-powered professional life, high-visibility public life and intensely consuming private life." Her husband, Prime Minister Tony Blair, has given his wife credit for being ".an enormous source of strength and an extraordinary person in her own right. I never know how she manages with all the different things she does - - the work, the family
The presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum on stage for the conferring of degrees added to the event's grandeur as the graduating students shook His hand and accepted their degrees from Dr lance de Masi, AUD's President and AUD's Dean's and Chairs.
The ceremony took on a personal note for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, when His son, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum accepted his own degree for His Bachelor of Business Administration
After the conferring of degrees by Dr Lance de Masi , Dr Jihad Nader , Provost and Chief Academic Officer, h onored the students who had achieved the highest averages in their respective departments and Schools. These honors went to:
Catherine Chikhani, Master of Business Administration Program
Rola Hassan Kobeissi, Department of Info rmation Technology
Mai Kameel Hamed, School of Business Administration Program
Rania Mahmoud Hamed, Department of Interior Design
Faten Mahmoud, Department of Visual Communication
Mahmoud Hicham Mahmoud El-Burai, School of Engineering
Mahmoud Hisham El-Burai, also achieved the highest academic standing among the AUD student body. He delivered the Class of 2006 Valedictorian speech in which he thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum for having granted him the scholarship that changed his life and that allowed the young boy from the Palestinian refugee camp to realize his dream of pursuing a higher education. Mahmoud added that this scholarship allowed him to realize, his father's vision that his son becomes an ambassador of his people, and his mother's dying wish that her son gains success in life by continuing his education.
The ceremony ended with the farewell address of AUD's President Dr lance de Masi, who urged the students to "Walk without fear in this fearsome world".
Dr de Masi stressed the point that this path entails "the bold expression of one's uniqueness and a rejection of imitation as a road to excellence". It also entails "the courage to embrace inquiry and invention as a means to human betterment" and finally "the courage to love" which requires openness and tolerance.
In the end Dr de Masi asks the student "not to live history but to make history by helping to create a world of new ideas and new ideals"