69 International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme students concluded their journey at the Academy with a formal afternoon Graduation Ceremony on Saturday 20th May 2017. The event was attended by Academy senior management, faculty and staff as well as parents, extended families, fellow grade 11 senior school students and invited guests. Director of Academies, Mr. Salim Bhatia and the network’s new Academic Director, Mr. Graham Ranger had both flown in from Atlanta and Paris respectively for the occasion.
The Academy was honoured to receive H.E Nurjehan Mawani, Diplomatic Representative of His Highness the Aga Khan to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as its Chief Guest. High level government, civil society and educational leaders from Telangana were also in attendance.
The event took off with a Pinning Ceremony and a toast, followed by a processional of the newly acknowledged Class of 2017. Welcome remarks were delivered by Head of Academy, Dr. Geoffrey Fisher, who reminisced over the many graduation ceremonies of which he has been a part; spoke about the Academy’s mission to raise ‘homegrown leaders’ and the importance of integrity in leadership. He congratulated the assembled grade 12 parents on the achievements of their children.
Our sister institution, the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa, celebrated their graduation ceremony simultaneously. Mr. Bhatia’s address was live screened to both Academies, as well as to graduating student families in Tajikistan. His inspiring words centered on the importance of hope in today’s context, and how the Academy education provides each graduate with essential knowledge and tools to effectively contribute to our global society through trying new solutions and finding new answers to the big issues faced by our world today. Mr. Bhatia’s speech underlined the difference of Academy alumni, who must continuously try to effect positive change, whether through their professional pursuits, personal circles or as a volunteer. Read Mr. Bhatia’s full speech here.
Chief Guest, H.E Nurjehan Mawani, gave the keynote address. Prior to her current appointment, Mrs. Mawani served as the AKDN Diplomatic Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic. She guided the work of AKDN agencies during the country’s transition period, working in close partnership with the Government, Parliament and civil society institutions. H.E. Nurjehan Mawani practiced law in London, England and Vancouver prior to becoming Chairperson of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. She is a recipient of the Order of Canada (C.M.) and numerous other awards for her contributions to not-for-profit organizations.
Mrs. Mawani shared her personal story with the graduates seated before her, peppered with anecdotes about milestones that had helped her gain the resilience, flexibility and confidence to pursue a career in advocacy and activism. From growing up in colonial Africa and working for those who had been expelled from Uganda, to being appointed to several high level positions in the Canadian government, Mrs. Mawani has had an illustrious career in the area of social justice. Her Excellency advised Academy graduates to be aware of the failure of pluralism, and to navigate their choices keeping in mind the world they wanted to build. She concluded with, “Be an ambassador for the Academy, its values and what it represents. I hope that your life’s journey will be filled with unlimited opportunities, possibilities and favourable winds under your wings.”
The Academy Graduation Ceremony of the Hyderabad Class of 2017 marks the culmination of a significant Academy experience. Graduates will join the growing number of Academy alumni who have achieved remarkable success in both Academy results and university placements. Alumni scholarship awards are notable, valued at approximately $11.7 million across four graduating cohorts. 70% students have received admission to Canadian universities this year. After 4 years, 185 alumni, 620 offers, 147 universities in 8 countries, the Academy has arrived in Hyderabad!
“We should remember the opportunity to achieve greatness is always within our grasp,” said Arnaz Lalani, Class of 2017 student representative who spoke at the Ceremony. “This is the lesson I take away from here.”