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174 students receive honors on AIT’s 124th Graduation

One-hundred and seventy-four students from 11 countries in Asia and Europe received their degrees on the occasion of the 124th Graduation of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) held on 16 December 2015. The students, which included 22 doctoral graduates join the 21,000-plus alumni body spread across all continents.

The AIT graduating batch included 80 students from Vietnam, 33 from Myanmar and 28 from Thailand. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Lao-PDR, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka were the countries of origin of other students, apart from a lone graduate from Switzerland.

Addressing the graduands was AIT alumnus and Vice President of Software Development at Oracle Corporation Dr. Rafiul Ahad. In 1980, Dr. Ahad had delivered a speech as an outstanding graduate of AIT, and he returned to AIT in 2015 to deliver the commencement address.

Narrating his personal story as a stateless young man who could not get a job despite degrees and qualifications, a young Rafiul painted church walls and polished floors before he was introduced to AIT. “I am grateful to AIT for admitting me to the first batch of computer science in 1979, and also to the Royal Thai Government for granting me scholarship to study,” Dr. Ahad reminisced. He recalled his first meeting with Prof. Nawaz Sharif, who was heading the computer science program, stating that his stint at AIT changed the trajectory of his career.

Asking students to inculcate the spirit of risk-taking, the graduation speaker quoted four lessons from his life -- ability to take risk, developing a passion for work, continue to acquire knowledge and maintaining a work-life balance. Further, be fair to everyone and treat everyone with respect regardless of social status and stature, he added.

Dr. Twarath Sutabutr, Director-General, Energy Policy and Planning Office, Ministry of Energy delivered the message as AIT Prominent Alumnus. Dr. Twarath, who received his Master of Engineering Degree in Geotechnical and Transportation Engineering from AIT in 1992, highlighted the role that AIT students could play in an increasingly globalised and integrated world. Quoting examples he cautioned graduands against sharing of false information that could lead to harmful effects in the real life.

AIT President Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai reminded all students that “AIT has always taken pride of its important role in resolving transnational cross border challenges.” Mentioning the role played by AIT in the run-up to the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21), Prof. Worsak stated that AIT will provide Asian solutions to Asian problems in relation to climate change, while using global knowledge. He asked students to maintain a strong association with their alma mater, and hoped that one day, they too would help AIT to continue its mission of serving future generations of world-class citizens.

The ceremony was conducted by Prof. Sivanappan Kumar, Vice President for Academic Affairs. The three Deans -- Prof. Voratas Kachitvichyanukul, Dean, School of Engineering and Technology (SET); Prof. Chettiyappan Visvanathan of School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD); and Prof. Nazrul Islam of School of Management (SOM) introduced the graduands. Dr. Muhammad Khalid Farooq of Energy field of study delivered the message on behalf of all graduating students. Students of AIT International School provided an intermission number.

Ambassadors who attended the event included H.E. Mr. Victor Ramirez Pena, Ambassador of Cuba; H.E. Mrs. Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon, Ambassador of the Philippines; H.E. Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne, Ambassador of Sri Lanka; H.E. Mr. Khaga Nath Adhikari, Ambassador of Nepal.

Other representatives of Embassies and international organizations include Mr. Chakkrid Krachaiwong, Director, International Organization Administrative Affairs Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Phanh Makara, First Secretary, Royal Embassy of Cambodia; Mr. Satoshi Yoshida, Second Secretary, Embassy of Japan; and Dr. Suleeporn Choopavang, Director of Foreign Affairs Department.

Other dignitaries included Prof. Charas Suwanwela,Chairperson, University Council, Prince of Songkla University; Dr. Pornchai Mongchovanit, President, Siam University; Dr. Cherdrak Virapat, Director General Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific; Dr. Viphandh Roengpithya, Member, AIT Board of Trustees; Dr. Chainarong Na Lamphun, President and CEO, Index International Group; Dr. Duminda Jayaranjan, Director SPS Global Corporation; and Dr. Lalit Johri, Fellow in International Business and the Director of the Oxford Advanced Management and Leadership Programme.

Students who graduated today had received scholarships from 43 sources including five international organizations and foundations, five governments, seven universities and colleges, 22 business and corporate entities, and four other donors.

VIDEO: Video recording of the Graduation Ceremony is available at this link: https://youtu.be/0zFMO9C9Z7M
PHOTO ALBUM: Two photo albums from the event are available at these links:
Facebook (Album I:https://goo.gl/KG2Fb7, Album II: https://goo.gl/3Fk6pk).
Google+ Album I: https://goo.gl/OG1Guf, Album II https://goo.gl/bcWS6T

Dr. Rafiul Ahad delivering the commencement address at AIT.