President Welcomes Class of 2020 | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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President Welcomes Class of 2020

Sunday, September 4, 2016 - 10:00

On September 3, 2016, the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) welcomed 111 new students into the Undergraduate Program, at the orientation day for the Class of 2020. The new class includes 84 students who graduated from the Academic Preparatory Program, and 27 students who have directly joined the AUIS undergraduate program. 

The new class met AUIS President, Bruce Walker Ferguson, on their orientation day. Read the full text of President Ferguson's speech to the Class of 2020 below. 

President’s Welcome to The Class of 2020
Bruce Walker Ferguson, J.D.
American University of Iraq, Sulaimani
September 3, 2016

Welcome, Class of 2020, to the Undergraduate Program of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.  You already are a special class to me as my first undergraduate class here at AUIS.  

Many of you have just completed our Academic Preparatory Program.  To those students: congratulations.  APP has already provided you with greater fluency in English; greater familiarity with mathematics; and an increased ability to reach conclusions based on logic and data rather than guesswork and emotion.

All of you, our APP graduates and our new students, will continue to improve in these areas.  Our Core Courses in the Undergraduate Program will provide you with a strong foundation for whatever major you decide to pursue. 

As you know, instruction at the University is in English.  Why is this important?  It is important because, like your smartphone, English is a useful tool for connecting with the outside world.  Like the Internet, English provides a bridge between you and many of the seven billion other people who live on our planet today. 

For thousands of years and in many cultures, speaking more than one language also has been the hallmark of the educated man or woman.  Almost five hundred years ago, Roger Ascham tutored the first Queen Elizabeth of England.  Ascham wrote that:

“As a hawk flieth not high with one wing, even so a man reacheth not to excellence with one tongue.”

Queen Elizabeth studied six languages.  Some of you know three or even four languages.  To those lucky students I say:  Treasure your gift.

Many of us, though, find it difficult to learn even a second language. Eddie Izzard, the English comedian and movie star, reportedly once exclaimed:

 “Two languages in one head?  No one can live at that speed! Good Lord, man. You're asking the impossible!”

Sometimes during your study here you will feel that your teachers are asking you to do the impossible.  Attending AUIS is certainly very hard, perhaps the hardest thing you have ever done in your life.  

I think you will discover, though, that often it is the most difficult tasks we undertake, the tasks that make us work the hardest, the tasks that make us suffer the most, of which later we are most proud. 

Today the University greets you as undergraduates.  When one day you say goodbye, I hope that you will be astonished at all you have learned and amazed at all you can do. 

Universities are places where new possibilities are created.  With hard work and determination, you will create new possibilities for yourself, your family, your community, and your country. 

Godspeed on this exciting journey.