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AKU holds its 30th graduation ceremony

December 04, 2017

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The academic procession walks in during the AKU Convocation-2017 on Sunday.—Photo by writer
The academic procession walks in during the AKU Convocation-2017 on Sunday.—Photo by writer

KARACHI: At its 30th convocation ceremony, the Aga Khan University (AKU) on Sunday awarded degrees to some 360 graduates, including doctors, nurses and midwives.

Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair, the chief guest on the occasion, while extending his personal congratulations to the graduating class also praised the parents and faculty for their contribution in the graduates’ achievements and for building their character.

“Only the best get admission at the Aga Khan University. And it is here that you become an even better student than when you started out,” he said.

He also invited all the high achievers to Governor House to further celebrate their success.

Earlier, in his welcome address, AKU President Firoz Rasul recognised the determination, passion and talent of the students as he urged them to remember the importance of innovation in overcoming the challenges of tomorrow.

Mr Rasul highlighted how an innovative mindset required a willingness to explore new perspectives and to engage with others to find alternative ways to solve problems. “The innovator is above all a seeker. He feels in his bones that there is another and better way. But he also knows he does not possess all the answers. So he is driven to search for knowledge, to question the prevailing wisdom, to explore the world with his eyes wide open,” he said.

In the quest for knowledge, there is no greater resource available than a mindset that values pluralism and diversity, which enables one to pool together the benefits of different traditions, novel perspectives and undervalued opinions to deliver meaningful innovations, Mr Rasul added.

The valedictorian’s speech made many who of the graduates teary-eyed. Young Dr Ramlah Nadeem said that she procrastinated so much when writing her speech, making excuses that she was suffering from writer’s block, because deep down she knew that with this speech would mark the end of a journey of a lifetime. Remembering the beginning of that journey she said how as “freshies” they had time to admire the lakes but learnt the hard way to be wary of the fierce geese bathing in those lakes.

“How after the first year, when we were the bait, the brunt of all jokes, came the second year when we thought that we had learnt all the ropes but there were more challenges to deal with,” she said. “And how in the third we were taken to sea; our clinical years when it was also good to understand clinical medicine, and knowing the chief resident’s favourite song also came handy,” she smiled, provoking many chuckles.

“But, seriously,” she said, “the lessons taught created in us a value system, which is now second nature. We learnt compassion, kindness, resilience and patience. Every individual’s journey here has been nothing short of remarkable,” she said. “Congratulations, Class of 2017. We have arrived!”

Atiya Hameedullah, another MBBS student said that she joined her father in becoming alumni from the university. Atiya’s father, Dr Hameed Ullah completed his residency in anaesthesiology from AKU in 1996. Speaking on the day, Atiya said, “It is such an honor to be graduating from AKU today, 26 years after both my parents graduated as doctors. Words cannot do justice to the sacrifices they have made to get me to where I stand today so I shall just say ‘Ammi and Abbi, this one’s for you. Thank you.’”

Kashif Malik, a gastroenterologist at Shaikh Zayed Hospital, Lahore, and a proud parent, was delighted to see his daughter Ramsha Kashif graduate and follow in his footsteps by becoming a doctor. A delighted Ramsha said, “My father has made such a tremendous effort to support me through these five wonderful years at AKU. His dedication to patients was my key inspiration to begin this journey and I really hope that one day I am able to give this profession the same level of commitment that he does.”

The convocation also saw the School of Nursing and Midwifery graduate 129 nurses, 118 with undergraduate and 11 with graduate degrees.

Amyna Ismail received the 2017 Best Graduate Award from the School of Nursing and Midwifery. This award is presented to the student who achieves the highest CGPA among the graduating classes in the BScN and Post-RN BScN programmes and who is also selected for the Nursing Practice Award. The Nursing Practice Award is given to the graduating student whose clinical and community practice reflects a client-centered approach, distinctive critical thinking, problem solving abilities, and ethical decision making.

The Medical College awarded 40 master’s and 91 bachelor’s degrees, as well as three advanced diplomas and 11 diplomas in dental hygiene.

AKU also awarded 37 master’s degrees in education and 12 Master of Arts in Muslim Cultures.

The Medical College’s 2017 Best Graduate Award was presented to Dr Mujtaba Mubashir who achieved the highest aggregate score in the certifying examinations through the five-year programme leading to the MBBS degree. Dr Mubashir also received the Medical College’s gold medal, only the ninth to be awarded to a student who achieves the top scores in at least three of the four certifying examinations, including the final examination.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2017