Sheikha Bodour urges graduating students to ‘stand up for what’s right’ at AUS Spring commencement ceremony

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Sharjah, June 9, 2024: American University of Sharjah (AUS) celebrated the achievements of 753 of its graduating students in its Spring 2024 commencement ceremonies held on June 8. Her Excellency Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of AUS, conferred the degrees on graduate and undergraduate students during one session in the morning and another in the afternoon in University City Hall in Sharjah, recognizing their years of commitment to their education.

Addressing the gathering, Sheikha Bodour said that academic and material success were important in life, but that strength of character was the true measure of a person’s worth. 

‘Every action you take, whether in your family, your workplace, or your community, will contribute to shaping the world in which you and your children will live,’ she said. 

‘Character is about doing the right thing, especially when it’s difficult and when there’s no tangible reward (…) Have the courage to speak up and stand up for what’s right. Congratulations, Class of 2024, your journey is just beginning, and I’m eager to witness your positive impact on the world.’

Dr. Tod A. Laursen, Chancellor of AUS, congratulated the graduating cohort. 

“AUS takes pride in providing a deep and rigorous level of training in our students’ chosen area of study, delivered alongside a broad exposure to the liberal arts and the opportunity to explore passions and evolving interests. This results in a student experience that demands true dedication and passion, and I want to congratulate you all on not only succeeding in making it through a truly immersive experience, but excelling in your achievements and creative milestones, in so many ways,” he said.

Sheikha Bodour awarded Fatima Rashid Bintaliah, a finance major, the President’s Cup for the highest-grade point average, and Jawwad Imran Sheikh, a mechanical engineering major, the Chancellor’s Cup for an outstanding combination of academic excellence, general character and service to the university. 

During the morning ceremony, student speaker and mechanical engineering major Malek Bachir reflected on the university journey he and his fellow graduates embarked upon, highlighting the challenges they overcame and the triumphs they celebrated along the way.

Having overcome the challenges of COVID-19 and building a vibrant community upon returning back to campus, Bachir said that it is in struggles that true strength can be found.  

“Our journey has taught us that within every challenge lies an opportunity to grow, to learn, and to excel. Despite the physical distance, we came together, supported one another, and pushed the boundaries of what we thought possible. And once we came back on campus, this graduating class led initiatives that not only brought us even closer but also made a significant impact on our community,” said Bachir.

From volunteering at the world’s biggest climate change conference COP 28, impactful initiatives led by student clubs and organizations, to forming a united front at the “Tarahum for Gaza ” event to support people in need, Bachir highlighted the power of community.

Bachir dedicated her success to his late father, whom she lost during the COVID pandemic.

“Today we also remember those who— though may not be here with us physically—left a lasting impression on our lives…My father’s spirit and legacy inspired and will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life and I am eternally grateful for him. This sentiment, I know, is shared by many of us who have lost loved ones and are feeling their loss especially today. Together, we honor their memory, and carry their legacy forward with every step we take,” she said.

In the afternoon ceremony, student speaker and biology major Abdelhamid Khodja highlighted the challenges and triumphs of adapting to online classes and the perseverance required to continue their university studies amidst the COVID pandemic. He urged students to be proactive in creating their own opportunities. 

“As graduates equipped with the knowledge that we have today, we have a renewed sense of responsibility to enter the world and strive to make it a better place than we found it. I am reminded of a powerful saying by the great writer George Bernard Shaw: ‘Don’t wait for the right opportunity, create it.’ And in a world brimming with challenges and uncertainties, this principle has never been more relevant. Our society is facing pressing issues such as climate change, social injustice, public health crises, and the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence,” he said.

Khodja added: “I urge you to heed the call to action embedded within today’s theme: Wait not for opportunities, create them. Because the problems we face today require all of us to collaborate to find creative solutions. So, as we embark on this next chapter of our lives, let us be catalysts for change, architects of societal progress and champions of justice. Each and every single one of you possesses the power to shape the world in accordance with our shared values and aspirations. So let us seize this moment with courage and compassion, knowing that our actions today will echo far into the future.”

The breakdown of the Class of Spring 2024 is as follows:

Total graduating students: 753

Undergraduate students receiving degrees: 653

Graduate students receiving degrees (master’s and PhD): 100

Male graduates: 305

Female graduates: 448

UAE nationals graduating: 154

A breakdown of the graduating class by college/school is as follows:

College of Architecture, Art and Design: 114 undergraduates and 5 graduates

College of Arts and Sciences: 141 undergraduates and 13 graduates

College of Engineering: 224 undergraduates and 73 graduates

School of Business Administration: 174 undergraduates and 9 graduates

For more information on the Class of Spring 2024, click here.

Attached Photos: 

1-5. Photos from press release titled Sheikha Bodour urges graduating students to ‘stand up for what’s right’ at AUS Spring commencement ceremony

6. Additional and high resolution photos link:https://we.tl/t-meef34MBSn

7. Video Link: https://we.tl/t-gRFkccEpiZ

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