AUIS Commencement 2016 Speakers | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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AUIS Commencement 2016 Speakers

Guest speakers at the fifth annual commencement ceremony of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) | May 28, 2016. 

Dr. Choman Hardi - Chair of AUIS English department (Master of Ceremony)
Dr. Esther Mulnix - Acting President and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Dr. Yousif Goran - Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research (KRG)
Dr. Barham Salih - Founder and Chairman of the AUIS Board of Trustees
Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone - President of The American University in Cairo
Tebeen Seerwan Ibrahim - Undergraduate Valedictorian
Martin Zaki Deeb - MBA Valedictorian

Choman Hardi 
Chair of AUIS English Department

Dr. Hardi is assistant professor and chair of the English department at AUIS. She is also the founding director of the AUIS Center for Gender and Development Studies

She was born in Sulaimani and lived in Iraq and Iran before seeking asylum in the UK in 1993. Hardi was educated in the universities of Oxford (BA, Philosophy and Psychology), London (MA, Philosophy) and Kent (PhD, Mental health). She was awarded a scholarship from the Leverhulme Trust to carry out her post-doctoral research about women survivors of genocide in Kurdistan-Iraq. The resulting book, Gendered Experiences of Genocide: Anfal Survivors in Kurdistan-Iraq (Ashgate, 2011), was chosen by the Yankee Book Peddler as a UK Core Title. It was translated into Turkish by Avesta publishing in 2013. Read more. 

Esther Mulnix
Acting President and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Esther Mulnix joined the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani in August 2014 as the vice president for academic affairs (VPAA) and professor of social sciences. Currently, she holds the office of the Acting President of the University. Before joining AUIS, Dr. Mulnix was professor and VPAA at CETYS University System in Baja California, Mexico. 

Dr. Mulnix led the institution through the U.S. regional accreditation process with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and was successful in helping CETYS University become accredited in February 2012. She also led the university system through international program accreditation, the College of Business Administration received ACBSP accreditation in May 2014. Read more. 

Yousif Goran 
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research

Dr. Yousif Goran is the Minister of Higher Education and Scientic Research for the Kurdistan Regional Government. He obtained a bachelor's degree in law from Baghdad University in 1990 and his masters degree from Koya University in 2007 followed. He was awarded PhD in Law from Sulaimani University in 2010. 

Dr. Goran's career path was mainly in legal advice, academic lecturership and research. He has previously served as university lecturer as well as Head of Department of Law and Political Science. 

Dr. Goran focuses his research in the area of constitutional law, in particular constitution for multicultural societies. 

Barham Salih
Founder and Chairman of the AUIS Board of Trustees

Barham A. Salih is the founder of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. He is a veteran Iraqi Kurdish politician with years of public service and leadership in both the Kurdistan Region and in Iraq.

Dr. Salih served as Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region from 2009-12. He was elected to a leadership role at the first conference of the Political Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party after the liberation of Kurdistan from dictatorship in 1992, and was also chosen to head the PUK office in the United States. Read more. 

Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone
President of The American University in Cairo
Commencement Address

A distinguished career diplomat and former ambassador, Ricciardone has recently been elected to serve as President of The American University of Cairo. Ambassador Ricciardone has been serving as Vice President for the US-based Atlantic Council.
Prior to joining the Atlantic Council, he served as the US ambassador to Turkey from 2011 to 2014, chargé d’affaires and deputy ambassador to Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010 and the US ambassador to Egypt from 2005 to 2008. He also served as US ambassador to the Philippines and Palau from 2002 to 2005.
He graduated from Dartmouth College and was a Fulbright Scholar in Italy and a guest scholar at the US Institute of Peace. He speaks and reads Arabic, Italian, Turkish and French, as well as rudimentary Persian.
“I experienced the transformative impact of international education first as a Dartmouth undergraduate in Italy and France, and later as a Fulbright scholar in Italy,” said Ricciardone. “I started my professional life as a teacher in Italy and Iran, believing that education is the most inspiring and worthy human endeavor. I believe in the power and goodness of educational and scientific engagement as a shared aspiration with the ability to bridge economic, cultural and social divides.”
Ricciardone was born in Boston and graduated from Malden Catholic High School. Upon graduating summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1973, he received a Fulbright Scholarship for teaching and studying in Italy. He went to Iran as a teacher in 1976, traveling widely in Southwest Asia, Europe and the Middle East until he entered the United States Foreign Service in 1978. 
His wife, Dr. Marie Dunn Ricciardone, directs the Middle East collaboration programs of the Center for Global Health at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
Tebeen Seerwan Ibrahim
Undergraduate Valedictorian

Tebeen Seerwan Ibrahim is a Business Administration graduate with a concentration in Management and a minor in Information Technology. Throughout his four years at AUIS, he has been actively engaged with university and professional development activities. Tebeen is a firm believer in the transformational possibilities of technology, business and science.

He is inspired by real entrepreneurs and innovators that make the world a better place. During his time at AUIS, Tebeen participated in the nine month long AUIS Mentorship Program, was the photo-editor of AUIS Voice, and volunteered for Sulaimani Forum, AUIS Initiative Week, and AUIS Research Symposium. He is currently a researcher at the Center for Informatics and Data Analytics (CIDA) at AUIS. Tebeen recently founded the Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club, the business department’s first official student club. The club serves to promote the notion of entrepreneurship, idea-creation, startups and creativity.

Tebeen has interned at Rabee Securities, Fanoos Telecom, Energy Logistics and Grand Millennium over his summers and winters. He attended a summer program in Charles University in Prague. He also organized Startup Weekend for the first time in Erbil and recently co-founded an information technology startup called Meta with the aim to enhance businesses and organizations through its creative, professional and locally-tailored IT services.
Tebeen is interested in entrepreneurship, information technology, philosophy and social projects. Tebeen intends to pursue an MBA in the near future and continue to serve in the fields of business, technology, education and social entrepreneurship. He has received a job offer from Ernst and Young, one of the four biggest consultancy and auditing firms in the world. 

Martin Zaki Deeb
MBA Valedictorian

Martin Zaki Deeb is a sales manager and a product specialist in the ophthalmology department at Medicals International company. He has been successful in penetrating the market and working with ophthalmologists, optometrists, and eye centers in the city of Sulaimani.
He obtained his BS in Nursing from the Lebanese University in 2001, and is a certified registered nurse in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. He has worked as a staff nurse in ICU, CCU and OR in Hamlin hospital in Beirut for five years. He is a member of the optometry association in Lebanon and Syria, and was a lecturer in the Keratoconus intervention in the Syrian Medical Institute. He has been living in Sulaimani since 2013.
*Profiles in order of the speeches at the commencement ceremony.