​Valedictory Address

Dr  Lilian Lukoko, Med class of 2018

Chief Guests Ambassador Dr Amina Mohammed, Cabinet secretary for Education, Trustee Yusuf Keshavjee; President Firoz Rasul, Honoured Guests,  Members of the Faculty, Graduates, Our sponsors and employers, Our dear family members and guardians, Ladies and gentlemen. Good morning!

I am honored to stand before you today, to deliver a few remarks on behalf of the graduating class.

First of all, I would like to congratulate all the graduates here- from the Medical College, School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Institute of Education, for making it to this auspicious convocation.

This is definitely a joyous day for graduates, their families and friends alike. It is a time of jubilation for having accomplished a great feat. It is also an opportunity to reflect on past challenges and successes and to use this platform to build hope for the future. 

For the graduates, a couple of years ago, we arrived at the Aga Khan University, rookies for sure, professionally naïve yet armed with vigor and determination, to scale greater heights in our different professions and vocations. This is the place we wanted to be in. With the state of art medical facilities, coupled with the best of minds as teachers that this institution has, it is common knowledge that world-class quality education is offered here. This has been shown by the brilliant and adept group of alumni that continue to shine the world over.  Being a JCIA accredited institution means that affairs are conducted in the proper way. Surely, who wouldn’t want to be part of the best?  Therefore, holding our heads high, we started a new journey. A journey governed by autonomy and self-directed learning; where we needed to set the rules and guide ourselves to exceed even beyond our predecessors. That meant that we had to leave our comfort zones and start living a new reality. We were prepared to learn, explore and make new friends, who were to become our new family. That we achieved indeed. 

The tale about my experience during the four years will be biased- this is because I will mostly talk about the department I was in – The department of Anaesthesia; as it is where I spent most of my time at the University. I remember being asked during my interviews; Daktari, do you know what you are getting yourself into? A question I did not have the answer to, I only knew that I was ready to take on whatever good or bad experience the program was going to throw my way. Then came the reporting day, I was anxious about how I was going to relate to all these new experiences, environment and people. Strangers soon turned into such great friends and family. A family that made the rest of the stay warm, easy and worthwhile. A family where the daily struggles was made easy by brilliant personalities who held my hands all through. The opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in the field globally was such a fulfilling experience. 

The journey has indeed been a memorable one. Just to mention a few peaks; the yearly Provost’s Football Tournament and Sports Fiesta day where we all got to interact in a different space away from theatres, clinics, wards and many other daily engagements. The annual event provided an opportunity for us to showcase our different strengths in various field events and in singing. I was particularly overjoyed when I learnt that the office of the Post Graduate Medical Education had organized sports club membership for residents. That meant our fitness and general well-being was taken care of. Those who know me know that I was and still am very passionate about that.  Kudos PGME, I am forever indebted for that privilege, it immensely contributed to my sanity. 

Looking back, we have a lot to be grateful for. First of all, we owe our presence here to God.  Secondly, we acknowledge the sacrifices made by our parents, guardians and sponsors and we remain indebted to them for their choice to invest in us and in our education. Thirdly, we also have the people who make up this institution to thank – The university administration; for their kindness in offering us scholarship for our studies, it would be such a relief if the same kindness would be extended all students. I would also like the faculty; for shaping our minds and skills to transform us into the best professionals, the hospital and university staff, the Librarians and many other individuals we interacted with in one way or the other, and who greatly contributed in different ways to making our time in the university exciting. We cannot forget to thank those friends who oh so kindly mentored us, checked on us regularly without fail, guided us through it all. To these friends, always remember that your support gave us a richer experience and we cannot express our gratitude enough. To use the words of the legendary Isaac Newton: We can see far because we stood on shoulders of giants. You are the giants.

There are three mythical things Monster of Loch Ness, big foot and a failed graduate of Aga khan University. We have learnt a lot about ourselves and about our different specialties; we have survived the tough times, busy calls, gone through the rigors of research, dissertations and sat through tough examinations. We gained more than just knowledge – we overcame our doubts and fears, became skilled and grew wiser. We have made considerable strides into our future endeavors to become world class doctors, excellent nurses and professional educators. It is undoubtedly a major honor to have been a student here. The good education, enviable skills and sought after competencies that we got here of course do not imply that we did not have to encounter challenges, if we didn’t, it would mean that the course was not real. It is by overcoming these challenges that we are stronger and more confident today. 

Therefore, fellow graduates, let us step up and rise higher in our professions. From now on, it will be a central part of who we are, and over time the most important part of our lives. Going forward, let us apply the knowledge, skills and ethics instilled in us to make a difference in the world and in our communities. As was once said, our mission is not to follow in the footsteps of those who graduated before us but to exceed their footsteps and go beyond.

Finally, I want to remind you to never stop learning. Let us bring not only solutions to problems we may face in our professions but also our humanity and caring.

Congratulations class of 2018!