Two-hundred and ninety-two students from 21 countries were awarded degrees and diplomas on the successful completion of their academic programs. The latest batch of graduates included students from Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, and North America.
Congratulating the successful students, AIT President Dr. Eden Y. Woon reminisced about his own student days, stating that his graduation days were some of the happiest moments of his life. “You will carry memories and knowledge from AIT as you join over 23,000 fellow graduates scattered all over the world, but you must keep on learning and remain curious,” Dr. Woon said. “Always ask why. Never take an answer from someone who says that is the way we have always done it. Always ask if things can be done better,” President Woon stressed. Stating that both technology and business are changing at a rapid pace, he urged students to pursue lifelong learning.
“In addition to the friendships, knowledge, and curiosity you take away from AIT, I hope you will take with you a sense of right and wrong, a sense of integrity,” President Woon said. “In today’s troubled world, filled with fake news and polarised thinking, more than ever in human history, we need that sense of right and wrong, that sense of integrity,” the AIT President added.
Delivering the Graduation Address, Prof. Timothy W. Tong, President, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) stated that in light of complex global issues such as climate change, endemics, energy security, and other challenges that transcend national boundaries, universities are being called upon to be more socially relevant and responsible by nurturing students who will make positive changes to society.
Prof. Timothy quoted examples of research conducted by Hong Kong PolyU, including spectacle lenses that slow myopic progression, optical fibre sensing technology for mass transit systems, and camera-pointing systems for lunar missions, as he spoke on how PolyU devotes considerable resources to application-motivated research and knowledge transfer. “Like AIT, we believe that it is our responsibility to undertake impactful research projects and create products and add practical value so that we can help improve lives,” he added.
The message by a Prominent Alumnus was delivered by Dr. Marrut Manistitya, Head of B2B, IT, and Mobile – Thailand & Indochina, Thai Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., who outlined his journey from being an economist who studied engineering for his master’s to earning a doctorate in management. Exhorting students to question more, Dr. Marrut remarked: “My recipe is always to begin by asking Why?” Once this is settled, proceed to When, How, and What, he said.” Speaking about the arrival of disruptive technologies, Dr. Marrut asked students to create opportunities based on their vision and beliefs.
Dr. Rehan Ul-Haque, of the Department of Development and Sustainability, who delivered the Graduation Speech on behalf of all students, stressed that there is a time when a person morphs from student to individual, and how from a dreamer, that person becomes an achiever. Referring to this journey from student to individual, Dr. Rehan quoted the philosopher Lao Tzu, who said: “When a student is ready, a teacher will appear.” When students entered AIT, teachers appeared, and today when they graduate, it is time to recall Lao Tzu’s second quote: “When a student is truly ready, the teacher will disappear.” Stating that AIT is a place that has much more than theses to offer, he asked fellow graduates to throw all bowlines, sail away from safe harbours, and explore their dreams.
India provided the largest cohort of graduates (61), followed by Myanmar and Thailand (53 each), Viet Nam (41), and Sri Lanka (21). One student each from Malawi and Spain represented award recipients from Africa and Europe, respectively, while two students from Fiji and one from the United States represented Oceania and North America.
Prof. Sivanappan Kumar, Vice President of Academic Affairs, officiated as Master of Ceremonies. Graduating students were introduced by the Chair of the Academic Senate, Dr. P Abdul Salam, and were presented by their respective Deans: Prof. Voratas Kachitvichyanukul, Dean, School of Engineering and Technology (SET); Prof. Rajendra Kumar Shrestha, Dean, School of Environment, Resources, and Development (SERD); and Prof. Nazrul Islam, Dean, School of Management (SOM). Thirty-three students from AIT’s International School provided an intermission number titled “A Million Dreams.”
Ambassador Pradap Pibulsonggram, Corporate Advisor, TEAM Group of Companies Co. Ltd. and Vice-Chair of AIT Executive Committee, H.E. Mr. Ahmad Rusdi, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia and Member, AIT Board of Trustees, and Professor Emeritus Dr. Karl E. Weber, Member, Board of Trustees, attended the event. Besides Ambassador Rusi, other Ambassadors who graced the occasion included H.E. Mr. Joaquim Amaral, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and H.E. Mr. Tshewang Chopel Dorji, Ambassador of the Royal Bhutanese Embassy.
Representatives of embassies who attended the event included Mr. Rodwan Osman Said Ibrahim, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan; Mr. Pho Hoang Han, Minister Counsellor, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; Mr. Yerlan Danabekov, Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan; Mr. Johan Ikram bin Ahmad Rusli, First Secretary, Embassy of Malaysia; Mr. Anil Sirimanna, First Secretary, Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; Mr. Gembo Tshering, First Secretary, Royal Bhutanese Embassy; Mr. Yoshinori Suga, First Secretary, Alternate Permanent Representative of Japan to ESCAP, Embassy of Japan; Mr. Yasir Iqbal Butt, First Secretary, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; Mr. Mahmoud Alizadeh, Second Secretary, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Mr. Yahya Muhammad Yahya, Second Secretary, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Mrs. Hardekawani Hassim, Third Secretary, Embassy of Brunei Darussalam; and Mr. Akim Azhiboev, Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Other dignitaries who attended the event included Dr. Suchitra Punyaratabandhu, Former Vice President for Administration and former Dean of the Graduate School of Public Administration, National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA); Mr. Pravith Chotiprayanakul, Chief Executive Officer of GS1 Thailand, the Federation of Thai Industries; Ms. Suwimol Wattanwiroon, Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership Consultant, United Nations Environment Programme; Dr. Suchart Muangkeow, Distinguished Specialist, Naresuan University; Dr. Siriluk Chumchean, Managing Director, Panya Consultants, Co. Ltd.; Prof. Yamashita Kuniaki, Director, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Bangkok Office; Dr. Mamoru Shibayama, Director, Kyoto University ASEAN Centre; Mr. Glen Vivian Chatelier, Director, Office of International Affairs, Assumption University; Dr. Jongbong Park, Director of Project Development, Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT); and Dr. Vuthichai Phanchet, Assistant Chief of Mega Projects, Index International Group Co. Ltd.
Watch the Ceremony on YouTube
(After 7.30 minutes)