Timothy O'Connor's speech during the Commencement Ceremony

Timothy O'Connor's speech during the Commencement Ceremony

June 5, 2024

Dear ɫ graduates, colleagues, and distinguished guests:
I am delighted to welcome you to one of the most momentous events of this academic year. Today, we celebrate a special day! We are marking a significant milestone as together we turn the page on an important chapter in the lives of our graduating students and acknowledge the privilege that ɫ faculty and staff had in working with you. Although I recently joined the ɫ community, I am grateful to share this occasion with you and hope that our paths continue to cross in the future. You and I are in the same position because we persevered!
Dear graduates of the American University in Central Asia! You have traversed a challenging academic journey, demonstrating resilience and determination. The difficult hurdles that many of you had to overcome – for example, the Covid pandemic, travel from Afghanistan, and border crossing from Tajikistan – have undoubtedly tested your fortitude. Still, you have emerged triumphant, equipped not only with academic knowledge, but also with the skills to self-reflect, think creatively, and critically evaluate the world around you.
As a pioneer in liberal arts education, the ɫ has been dedicated to fostering critical thinking and student-centered learning for over 30 years. We have the support of loyal allies and partners. In this regard, I want to note our long-term and mutually beneficial cooperation with Bard College in New York. We are certainly open to collaboration with other leading scientific and educational institutions and organizations worldwide. Still, historically we have developed a special and the closest relationship with Bard College, which allows us to educate and graduate young specialists in many double diploma programs.
I would like to express my gratitude to the US Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic, the US Embassy in Kabul, and the US State Department, with whom we have cultivated a long history of cooperation and support.
I also express my gratitude to the American Councils for International Education and the U.S.-Central Asian Education Foundation (U.S-CAEF), represented today at the ceremony by the Board of Directors, for the excellent opportunities provided to our students and for many years of fruitful cooperation in educating young professionals in Central Asia.
The ɫ also receives crucial support from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic and the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic. We work diligently to justify this backing by producing highly qualified professionals capable of tackling global and local challenges and engaging actively in patriotic civic activities to promote the national interests of the Kyrgyz Republic.
In addition, I would like to extend my appreciation to our Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board for their valuable partnership and collaborative understanding, both of which have been instrumental to our success.
ɫ graduates know that the educational process does not end with a diploma. Our graduates are equipped with a lifelong commitment to continuous learning, recognizing that staying ahead of the curve in their profession requires ongoing training and self-study. As an international university, ɫ's diverse student body reflects this global perspective, with 40% of undergraduate students coming from abroad. With a strong sense of adaptability, resilience, and determination, ɫ graduates are well-prepared to take on the challenges of a rapidly changing world.
Those who have played a supporting role in the educational journey of our graduates also deserve recognition and appreciation. Parents, professors, and staff have contributed in a variety of ways to the success of our students. Parents providing unwavering support and encouragement, professors imparting valuable knowledge and guidance, and staff members creating an environment that fosters focus and learning are a few examples.
At this time, I would like to address the parents of our ɫ graduating class to say that this commencement is the culmination of a successfully fulfilled, unwritten, and vital social contract. Our University has offered you and your children exceptional opportunities for self-knowledge, personal growth, academic development, and the building of relationships throughout their studies. Together with your unwavering support, our graduates have made the most of these opportunities, resulting in this remarkable outcome.
Dear graduates,as you embark further on your journey, I wish you a future filled with success, joy, and fulfillment. I encourage you to find your path to happiness, because it is a skill that can be learned and mastered. It is not just about achieving success, but also about realizing what is important to you and living in alignment with your values. I hope that your time at the American University of Central Asia has provided you with a foundation to develop this skill, and I wish you all the best in your pursuit of happiness and self-realization.
Congratulations on your graduation! Please remember that our University will always be your alma mater and home. On behalf of my colleagues and partners, it is important to know that you can always return to the ɫ for support and inspiration.Congratulations on this wonderful day!
Timothy O'Connor, AUCA President.

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