Your Eminence Cardinal Edwin O’Brien,
Your Eminence Archbishop Pier battista Pizzaballa,
Faculty, and Graduating Students Class of 2017.
You are the third cohort of graduating students from the American University of Madaba, but the first to graduate at the AUM Campus. Congratulations class of 2017.
To commence is to start a new phase in your life – a phase of making smart choices, taking innovative decisions and safe-margin risks. Be it to either join graduate studies or to pursue a profession or to have your startup or to travel the world. To whatever end you choose, AUM has given you the means and the tools on how to move on wisely and efficiently in your future plans and on how to contribute to the well being of Jordan, the region and the world at large.
Today, we are gathering to celebrate your accomplishment and those of AUM; your years at AUM have prepared you for lifelong learning and for being agents of positive social change.
Your graduation is not an end, but a new beginning. We are keen on keeping you always in touch with and engaged in the activities of your loving alma mater. The AUM Alumni Association will be our bridge and our eternal bond. I hope you all register and stay connected. Together, we can make a difference in our local communities and the world.
At present, AUM has eighteen Academic Programs spread over seven faculties. Eventually, we plan to have thirty two academic programs. To road map the coming phase of our expansion and to translate the original master plan into actionable and operational steps, a five year strategic plan is being drafted to lead the second episode of AUM’s journey – with both a clear vision and an unwavering determination .
Our priorities in the forthcoming few years are manifold. Among them are:
First, bridging the skill gap between academia and the market place. Foregrounding employability in our old and new academic programs and fusing the market needs and demands with our future programs have many concrete manifestations in our offerings. Among these are two new specializations which will be made available soon:one in Speech and Hearing and the other in Rehabilitation. Such specializations will naturally help in alleviating the scarcity of specialists in professions which require these specializations in both the country and beyond.
Internationalization is another priority. Toward this end, we are establishing an International Office which focuses on two spheres of operations: Study Abroad Program and Industrial Links. Both operations will shoulder the responsibility of following up on students who will choose to either study or to get training as exchange students with partner universities from the U.S. and Europe, as well as with industries and companies of international standing with which we have signed MoU’s and established strategic partnerships.
Third, his Majesty King Abdallah II once said:“Today more than ever we need creative minds to address the issues of the age. And one of the most urgent is this: How can humanity know so much, achieve so much, and still fail so many people so badly?”
To this end, we are establishing an Innovation Hall at AUM as part and parcel of our societal outreach to mobilize High School students in realizing their potential and talents, and in giving a boost to their pioneering and innovative ideas.These high School students will also be exposed to the conceptual framework and methods of scientific research and to creative thinking based on deep understanding and respect for the laws of nature. Naturally, AUM students will be involved in this endeavor. As
Fourth, we are giving vocational training opportunities to Syrian and Jordanian workers alike who were unable to complete high school successfully. These students will be able to choose one of three vocations: Carpentry, Electrical Networks, and Welding and Metal Shaping.
Fifth, we will intensify our community and civic engagement, conducting workshops on capacity building, such as the recently-concluded “computer skills workshop for local community” in which we had 45 participants training for seven weeks. They were awarded completion certificates last Saturday, 8th of July. Another local community engagement – which is still ongoing – is our Charity Pharmacy initiative carried out by our Department of Pharmacy.
To sustain our engagement with the community and to reciprocate societal demands for specific studies and research, we have established a Center for Consultations, Studies and Training. Such a center will conduct all kinds of short term courses and workshops, and the surplus from the Center’s activities revenue will be partially used to hold workshops for AUM staff and the local community free of charge.
To embark on the new demands of the new world with all its complexities and opportunities, AUM with its faculty members, staff and students will work together tirelessly to make all of the above projects and initiatives successful and impactful.
I would like to end my speech with a tripartite wish for our beloved students:
Don’t fear taking challenges and risks to create new opportunities,
Don’t be hesitant to be creative in your career path,
Don’t get drowned ininhibitions that prevent you from taking the road “less travelled by.”
Always have faith in yourselves and follow your hearts.
Good luck to you all, congratulations to your parents, and God bless you.