Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman has urged the graduates of the Asian University for Women (AUW) to raise their voice for establishing peace and justice in society.
She also called for their role to fight poverty and discriminations. Opportunities of the state should be distributed among all citizens without discriminations, the Yemeni rights activist said, while addressing the sixth commencement of AUW held at a hotel in Chittagong city yesterday.
At the ceremony, a total of 169 students from 15 countries were conferred Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc) degrees.
In addition, honorary doctorates (Doctor of Humane Letters) were conferred upon Tawakkol Karman and Dr Ismail Serageldin, founding director, Bibliotheca Alexandria as well as vice president emeritus of the World Bank.
Terming peace the “only means to stop and to establish justice,” commencement speaker Tawakkol said justice protects citizens from aggression.
And “the most important form of justice is to protect people from massacre.”
In this regard, the Nobel winner emphasised the inclusion of women in leadership, which “greatly helps to achieve peace and development”.
AUW Chancellor Cherie Blair said when the university started its journey 10 years back, it had only 131 students from six countries and they were housed in one building in the port city.
”Today we have 735 alumni drawn from 15 countries around the region.”
Blair said quality higher education for women is essential for the development of society, and AUW has given women the access to quality higher education.
The children from under-privileged families are also getting opportunity to study in AUW, she said.
Speaking on the occasion, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali praised the role of the university in bringing students from different countries together and creating a multicultural environment.
“You all are ambassadors of your own country,” he told the graduates. “You must raise your voice in support of hundreds of thousands of distressed Rohingya people.”
Chair of AUW Board of Trustees Dr Dipu Moni, also a former foreign minister, urged the AUW graduates to bring about positive change in the community.
“The world desperately needs your courage, service and leadership,” she said.
Kamal Ahmad, president and CEO of AUW Support Foundation, and Prof Nirmala Rao, vice chancellor of AUW, spoke among others.
Earlier, Ustad Azizul Islam mesmerised the audience with his flute music, while Akie Abe, first lady of Japan, spoke at the commencement through video conference.