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AUAF Successfully Hosts Its Seventh Commencement Ceremony

On Friday May 20, 2016, The American University of Afghanistan held its seventh commencement ceremony to honor the class of 2016 on the University’s International Campus.  The ceremony was highlighted by the commencement speaker Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US Ambassador to Afghanistan, who was also the recipient of the Doctor of Humane Letters Honorary degree presented by AUAF.

 The event commenced with the recitation of the Holy Quran and Afghanistan's National Anthem followed by the welcoming remarks by the President, Dr. Mark A. English and founder Dr. Sharif Fayez. Dr. English spoke about the accomplishments of graduates and alumni and said more than 80% of AUAF’s alumni are employed and work in a variety of fields that include the Afghan government, Afghan non-governmental organizations, international agencies and foreign embassies in different capacities and departments.

 "AUAF is now better positioned for a period of growth and expansion in programs, facilities, and sustainment initiatives," said Dr. English. "The new strategic and development plans for 2016-2021, coupled with the revised master plan for the international campus, chart a substantive blueprint for our way moving forward and I remain very excited about the viability and sustainability of AUAF for the future." 

Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad was awarded the honorary degree by Dr. English and Dr. Akram Fazel, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of AUAF. Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad then proceeded with his commencement speech to the fresh new graduates. He congratulated them and said that they are a selected group because they have great potential, skills and are now better prepared to contribute back to the country.

 "The concept that has helped me throughout my life is that success is not a straight line, there will be setbacks, and failures, but the test of the great people is to analyze the causes of the failure, to strategize how to overcome them, not to be defeated by them, so when something does not work out, don't come to a judgment that you are destined to fail," said Dr. Khalilzad. "I have great faith that you and Afghanistan will succeed."

 Dr. English and Dr. Fazel also presented a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree posthumously to the later Frederic S. Berger, former Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Mr. Tariq Nazarwal received the award on behalf of Mr. Berger.

The class of 2016 had 148 graduates, 42 from graduate and 106 from undergraduate programs. After the distribution of the diplomas, the Farid Maqsudi Social Entrepreneurship Award winners for the year 2016 were announced.  Awards were given to Ehssanullah Hilali, Sehar Sulaimankhail, and Hossai Fakhri who were the recipients of the $10,000USD prize presented to them by Dr. Patrick Asea, MBA program director, and Dr. English.

At the end of the ceremony, the class of 2016 valedictorian Maisam Maqsoodi delivered a speech.  The program concluded with Mr. Ghulam Farooq Mujaddidi, AUAF Alumni Association Board President, welcoming all the new graduates to the association. The program was attended by highly respected dignitaries, including H.E Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, Minister of Finance , and Deputy Minister Mohammad Osman Baburi, Deputy Minister of Higher Education