It is the new generation's turn to construct a prosperous Bangladesh in harmony with its culture, heritage and aspirations of the people, prime minister's power and energy adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said yesterday, drawing on the memories of the Liberation War.
Addressing the 17th convocation of Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB), he said this generation now had a different opportunity -- nation-building.
He told the new graduates, "At the same time you are a part of a larger community, the world at large, participate in it, take from it and give to it your unique abilities."
"Remember there is no single path in the human experience. You will have to travel down many as you negotiate what cards you have been dealt with. You will make mistakes. Do not despair. You will achieve successes. Do not let them go to your head," the convocation speaker said.
Dr Tawfiq said, "...the dominant identity that you have enjoyed all these years as a student is about to morph into many new identities as you journey ahead.
"Take this journey with a sense of discovery and an open mind; avoid doctrinal 'isms'. Only then will you move forward, individually and collectively."
The commencement kicked off with hundreds of graduates clad in the ceremonial gowns and hats swarming the campus. There were smiles and excitements all around.
The leading private university awarded degrees to 1,388 new graduates -- 954 from bachelor's and 434 from master's programmes.
"Finally the day has come; it's my graduation," a student was seen telling another, glowing in joy.
A student procession was also held before the start of the main programme where distinguished guests and teachers congratulated the graduates and gave them words of inspiration and advice.
Conferring the degrees, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said, "The knowledge that you acquired should spread among the less enlightened people. May your talents and wisdom become a source of courage to the general masses, may it bring positive changes in the society."
He spoke on behalf of President Abdul Hamid, also chancellor of IUB. Nahid said, "Education is power when it is applied to change the society for the betterment. I believe you will do that with patriotism, honesty and sincerity.
"You are the torchbearers of the society. The less fortunate and deprived people need you. Enlighten them."
He said the universities would have to create new knowledge and conduct research. He also warned of taking legal action against the private universities failing to comply with conditions laid down in law.
Prof Abdul Mannan, chairman of the University Grants Commission, said convocation symbolised the culmination of hard work and transition from one stage of life to the next. He said, "Education is not only about instruction, technical skills and information. It is more about dissemination and mastering of knowledge, enhancing problem-solving ability, nurturing the passion to innovate, understanding the values of life and transforming a person in to a more decent human being."
IUB Vice Chancellor Prof M Omar Rahman said convocation was an opportunity to reflect on what a university stood for, its values, ambitions, hopes and aspirations.
"IUB has taught you to question rather than accept, to be independent rather than dependent, to not fear taking the long hard road rather than the shortcut, and ultimately, to lead rather than be led."
Rashed Chowdhury, chairman of the Board of Trustees, IUB; A Matin Chowdhury, chairman of Education, Science, Technology and Cultural Development Trust, IUB; and Prof Milan Pagon, pro-vice chancellor (designate), IUB, also spoke.
Mahtab Fahim, a student of the School of Business, was awarded the Chancellor's Gold Medal while four students received awards for their outstanding performance in various fields -- Mahtab Fahim for academic excellence, Saquiba Bintay Ali for culture, Salman Ahmed for community service, and Hisham Rahman for sports. Saquiba Bintay Ali was also awarded for being an "all rounder".