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President Ashraf Ghani Recognizes AUAF at Special Event

17 November 2016

The President of Afghanistan, Dr. Ashraf Ghani, accompanied by the Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah met with students, staff and faculty of the American University of Afghanistan at an extraordinary event at the Presidential Palace on Thursday, November 17.  The President hosted over 500 members of the university community for the event, which included an opportunity for the University community to meet and hear remarks from Afghanistan’s top leaders. Families of the martyrs were special recognized guests.

The event provided an opportunity to recognize the value and contribution of AUAF to the progress and  development of Afghanistan.  Proceedings began with President Ghani and CEO Abdullah going from table to table personally greeting students, staff and faculty.  Then, after a recitation from the Koran, Acting AUAF President David S. Sedney thanked HE President Ghani, CEO Abdullah, and the Afghan government for their support to the university during its recent challenges.  Sedney gave special thanks to the US Embassy and The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for their generous support as AUAF moved towards full reopening.  Stressing the sacrifices of the martyrs’ families, he offered his condolences and told the families they are forever a part of the AUAF family.  

AUAF Acting President David S. Sedney

Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, in his stirring remarks, recognized the importance of higher education, stating the salvation of the country lies in investing in its people, and the attack on the university was an attack on knowledge, youth and the future. He enthusiastically pointed out that thanks to the efforts of students pursuing higher education, Afghanistan would be able to emerge from its current difficult stage. 

CEO Abdullah Abdullah

His Excellency President Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani gave a moving speech, in which he recognized the sacrifices of the martyrs while emphasizing the importance of continuing the education of the next generation.  With its abundant natural resources and its position as the crossroads of Asia, Afghanistan’s main asset is its human capital.  HE President Ghani noted that the enemies of Afghanistan intended to break the will of the Afghan people and their international partners to pursue peace, progress and prosperity. He emphasized that such cowardly attacks can only strengthen our resolve. “Our commitment to progress and education is unwavering and the will of the Afghan people cannot be broken,” he emphasized. President Ghani also expressed the gratitude of the Afghan government to US Embassy and USAID for the continued support of AUAF and for their timely mobilization of resources to enable AUAF to reopen its doors to students.

HE President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani

Student Government Association President Samiullah Sharifi also spoke, noting the opportunity for higher education at international standards that AUAF provides.  He spoke passionately about the desire of AUAF students to pursue education and to equip themselves with the knowledge and tools to be able to serve Afghanistan in future.  He said the greatest tribute to our fellow students who lost their precious lives is to continue our education and not allow terrorists to dent our resolve. He vowed that AUAF students will come back and continue their education. He called on the Afghan government to support the university wholeheartedly and provide a safe and secure environment for students, faculty and staff.

AUAF SGA President Samiullah Sharifi

The speeches were followed by a superb lunch which allowed AUAF students, faculty and staff to reconnect, reenergize and reaffirm the spirit and purpose of AUAF: to educate the future leaders of Afghanistan. The future leaders expressed their strong resolve to continue their education and urged that the University reopen is doors as soon as security upgrades are in place.  AUAF Acting President Sedney told the students that the security upgrades are moving forward and that with the strong support of USAID we hope to have the necessary security enhancements in place very soon.

AUAF is deeply and sincerely grateful for the kind hospitality of HE President Ghani and CEO Abdullah at this event and for the continuous support of the Afghan government.


Photos courtesy of the Presidential Palace.