Diala Rashdan | AUM Students Speech


Your Eminence, Your Excellencies, Esteemed Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Graduates, it is truly a privilege to be standing here today, representing the graduating class of 2016. Although I may not be able to collectively voice all the graduates’ thoughts, I will try to speak their mind. So on behalf of the graduates, I would like to thank you for joining us on this most auspicious occasion.

When we first started going to AUM, we had four to five years ahead of us. In that time, we watched the university grow, building by building, developing into a bigger picture, unaware that as the university grew, we grew with it.

This university has taught us more than just academics, and we have always found a way to give back. We were taught sportsmanship and teamwork, so we gave back a united, ethical team; we were taught humanity, selflessness, and generosity, so we gave back to the community through fundraisers and charity work; we were taught perseverance and hard work, so we gave back this graduating class.

I would like to express how immensely proud I am to be able to call myself one of the first students to enroll in this prestigious, and now precious University, as well as part of the first graduating class of engineers; standing among the first pharmacists and second batch of graduates. We are some of the pioneers that will be representing AUM, with stars in our eyes, our minds prepared, and our degrees on that table. But it is not just the University we will be representing, but our families, friends, and the graduating students of the past, present, and future as well. Moving on from this University, our University, will not be easy, and although I say this with my head held high, my heart is heavy.

Before we knew it, these few years have come to pass, and today marks the day that we will start to frame our memories as pre- and post-graduation. I am not only speaking for myself when I say this feeling of moving on is a bittersweet mix of both anxiety and excitement. But we take comfort in knowing that we have both individually and collectively left a mark in this university, just like it left a mark on us.

Our University resembles a museum, where each and every student is represented by their very own, unique canvas. To an outsider, it may seem like a work in progress or just a splash of color, but in the eyes of each graduate, their painting is a work of art, their personal masterpiece. Each class gave inspiration, each professor contributed a color, and each student added a part of themselves, showcasing a multitude of talents. Our paintings come together like the stones of a mosaic, portraying AUMs vision.

As a part of the community of Latin Patriarchate educational institutions, we should be proud of the value system to which we belong. We now know how much of a precious thing it is to be able to interchange knowledge and science in a lifelong pursuit of learning and personal development. No matter what our background or faith is, we are all invited to add our own contributions to the museum of wisdom and knowledge that AUM and its sponsoring institutions offer us. Enabling the individual to be and become everything they can, taking our place to fulfill our personal destiny, and developing ourselves to our fullest potential; that is AUM’s mission.

We, the students, bring this mosaic together, and we need each other to provide the missing pieces to this picture. We supported, understood, loved, accepted, and encouraged each other, and without all this, our masterpiece would not be what it is today. We are now going to be citizens of the world, and I think we should still always keep this up if we are to embrace all the best of our beautiful country, and make this next step as wonderful as the one before. Together we can see ourselves become true agents of positive change; creating, innovating, and developing our ideas to beautify the world we share. Then we might be able to see the beginning of our individual journeys as well as the future of the American University of Madaba.

At this point, I'd like to give credit where it is due. We owe gratitude to our mentors, teachers, and professors that have challenged us to reach our full potential, and provided the colors that made our work vibrant. Thank you to our friends and classmates, who steadied our hands and supported us through it all. The deepest appreciation to our parents for giving us the paintbrushes without which none of this would have been possible. And last but not least, immense gratitude goes to the American University of Madaba for giving us this opportunity and making it all worthwhile. If I could turn back time to when we first started, I would have gone to AUM all over again. And for that, we hope we will always continue to make you all proud.  

Graduation day does not represent the end, it represents the first step on a new path, a celebration, but also a challenge. A challenge to each one of us here to encourage the best in each other and push ourselves to being the best we can. So together we can become a community of lifelong learners, doers, and achievers that AUM and this world needs us to become. Like the salt of the earth, the lights in this world, or even the city on the top of the hill that cannot, should not, and will not be hidden.

Graduates! We were not the first to ever graduate, and nor will we be the last, but today is our day! Congratulations class of 2016, we did it!