AUD's 22nd Commencement Ceremony

The ceremony hosted over 4000 attendees at the Sheikh Rashed Hall

May 12, 2019

Every generation sets out to right the wrongs of the world. 
- Interim President Steve Franklin

Tolerance is also a valuable management tool. And a tool we’ve all had the chance to acquire in Dubai.” 
– Keynote Speaker Mr. Sam Barnett

Under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the American University in Dubai (AUD) held its Twenty- Second Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 12, 2019 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The ceremony was held in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who honored students with the distribution of diplomas.
Thousands of friends, family, and well-wishers gathered in the evening to cheer on the 2019 Graduates as they sealed their AUD journey with a special send off from AUD’s leadership and the Commencement speaker.

The ceremony began with the UAE and US National Anthems being played, followed by a warm welcome address by AUD’s Interim President, Dr. Steve Franklin citing the students’ success as a result of their own endeavors, as well as the exemplary vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Encouraging the graduating class to continue learning, he stated, “embrace what Dubai has offered you, learn and grow from it, as it is an experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world.”

Dr. Steve Franklin went on to introduce Mr. Sam Barnett, CEO of MBC Group to the stage. Giving a passionate address to the graduating class, Mr. Barnett focused on the importance of tolerance, citing its moral imperative in leading teams, visions, and change in the world. “Through the UAE Year of Tolerance in 2019, we are reminded that innovation is not purely about architecture, technology and the digital economy. It’s also about finding new and positive ways to think about each other. For anyone graduating to work in media and for everyone graduating to work in this kaleidoscopic UAE community – this focus on Tolerance is a beacon of hope in a very difficult world” said Mr. Sam Barnett. He further encouraged students to take fearless steps towards seeking the truth and to consistently exercise tolerance, an opportunity that both AUD and Dubai encourages given its multi-cultural diversity.

Following Mr. Sam Barnett’s words of hope and zeal, Dr. Steve Franklin, AUD’s Interim President, along with H.H. Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Mr. Sam Barnett, and Dr. Imad Hoballah conferred the diplomas to the graduating students, including the inaugural graduation of the Master of Arts in Leadership in Contemporary Media, and congratulated them on their success. The graduates received American-accredited degrees in the fields of Architecture, Business Administration, Communication and Information Studies, Construction Management, Education, Engineering, Interior Design, International Studies, and Visual Communication.

Throughout the plethora of academic merits offered to numerous graduating students, Dr. Imad Hoballah, Provost and Chief Academic Officer of AUD, offered these parting words to the graduating class “It is not about what you were taught at AUD, it is not only about what you learned, but it is all about how you apply what you learned to benefit the society and the communities around you, about your mindset, about never fearing failure and about trying new things”.

He concluded his speech by introducing the Valedictorian of the Class of 2019, Ms. Shahid Herzallah, a Palestinian student graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. The Valedictorian expressed her heartfelt appreciation to her professors and family for their tireless support and encouragement. She also addressed her fellow colleagues asking them to always support those around them, citing “It’s known that having a good support system of friends and colleagues immediately helps you become a better and a stronger person so I hope that we all choose to continue to support each other in the future.” She also praised AUD’s numerous scholarship opportunities, saying: “I would also like to express my gratitude towards the scholarship programs here in AUD, especially the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum program that provided and continues to provide opportunities to students like me to get a chance to even go to a university and pursue a higher education. “

AUD Interim President Dr. Steve Franklin closed the ceremony with a speech that inspired the youth to take action and invent their future. Rather than look at the future with fear, Dr. Franklin assured them that their preparation and development at AUD has equipped them with the tools to shape their future. Dr. Franklin stated “Graduates, you and I are a composite of 3 things in life: the books we read, the people we meet, and the places we go”. 

An audience of around 4,000, including several dignitaries and other prominent members of the local UAE Community, attended the ceremony at which around 400 undergraduate and graduate students from nearly 50 different nationalities received their American-accredited degrees in the fields of Architecture, Business Administration, Communication and Information Studies, Construction Management, Education, Engineering, Interior Design, International Studies, and Visual Communication.

The American University in Dubai is a private, academically and culturally inclusive institution of higher learning, providing a globally recognized American education. AUD is the first American-accredited university in the UAE that holds numerous program and school level US & UAE accreditations across its six schools.

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