Valedictory Address

Atim Irene, BScM Class of 2017​

Our Chief Guest Dr Jane Ruth Aceng 
Members of the Board of Trustees
President Firoz Rasul
Honoured guests
Members of the Faculty 
AKU alumni, families, fellow graduates 
Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning! 

I am proud to represent the graduating nurses, midwives, and educators! In particular, it is my great privilege to be part of the first group of midwives graduating from Aga Khan University.

I thank the Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan from the bottom of my heart whose vision for our university in Uganda has made enormous contributions to the nursing and midwifery profession.

On behalf of the graduating classes of 2017, I would like to say welcome to everyone and thank you for celebrating this special day with us.

I do not have words enough to express my gratitude for the chance to speak with you on this special day. Being up here in this role is a joy I wouldn’t have dared to imagine, it feels really good to be on the ‘speaking’ side of the stage and as my class mates will verify I like speaking! However, I promise to make this talk a short one, while still conveying our gratitude and sense of hope and excitement for the future.

“Thank you”, to all those who have made this day possible for every one of us, including with our families, friends, faculty members, support staff at the university, partners who believed in us, Johnson and Johnson and others for their substantial financial support which has benefited almost all of our students. We would also like to thank those institutions who have generously seconded and supported their staff, who are our fellow students, to allow them to complete their studies. Each and every one of them has had an impact on our lives at Aga Khan University, Kampala Campus.

Henry Ford once said:

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

This message has been taken to heart by us all as a commitment to lifelong learning.

First and foremost I would like to thank the university and our mentors, you taught us theory and practicum, gave us inspiration to strive for perfection, you have become real examples and role models to follow.

When we enrolled at AKU, each one of us made the firm decision to pursue a diploma or a degree course in Midwifery, Nursing, or Education at our beloved University. I can assure you in the middle of it, many of us wanted to give up, we wanted to pack our books, bags, and go home, honestly, that would have been an easier choice; but we stuck through it all, thick and thin. You see, we had an amazing set of professionals by our side who believed in us and knew how to make the process of learning interesting. Everyone worked hard to make the challenging subjects relatable and easier to understand, and never failed to give us constructive criticism so that we could make ourselves worthy of praise, identify challenges so that we could find solutions; simplified complex theoretical principles by showing us how to put them into practice. When we had those meaningful discussions with the faculty, they were in fact just sharing their knowledge with us. Just earlier as I crossed the stage to receive my degree I could see big smiles on all their faces. Thank you all!

Last but never the least I would like to thank our parents, grandparents, husbands, wives, children,, brothers, and sisters, our families who gave us their love and care – your unconditional support is the greatest of treasures and means the world to us. We wouldn’t even be close to Victoria Hall today if it wasn’t for you. We love you and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Finally, I would like to thank all of you who have gathered today - it’s a tremendous joy to see you here and to share with you this marvellous moment.

Today, as we celebrate our success, we can raise our heads high for we have overcome all the challenges life threw at us in the past two years. It has not been easy, but we have reached the end of this particular journey. It is also the beginning of a new course that lies ahead, and I want to assure that we will never relent. We will always persevere with the same spirit that has brought us here today, I promise you my friends it is our ticket to our destination.
 
In closing, I will once again quote a friend who stated that, and I quote “If it is not us who are learning from our experiences, then others shall learn from our lives, and then they will become better than us”.

I am proud to particularly acknowledge a group of my fellow graduates here today, who are preparing to go out in underprivileged communities in Uganda as AKU alumni and volunteer their services in organizing desperately needed health camps and screening mechanisms for early detection of non-communicable diseases which will undoubtedly contribute to improving health and well-being of our fellow citizens.

This is what AKU has taught us and this is how we plan to pay forward.

Remember this is not the end, it is the beginning of our future. Today is already a better day than yesterday. Tomorrow – I promise – will be even brighter!!