Forty (40) students in the first graduating class of ISC-Erbil graduated on Saturday, June 8, 2013, in a ceremony attended by the Kurdish Prime Minister. The ceremony was held in Saad Abdullah Conference Hall in downtown Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, the semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq, and drew approximately 900 guests from among family and friends of the 40 graduates as well as from the school’s many local supporters.
The ceremony was opened by Dr. Humaira Bokhari, ISC-Erbil School Director, after flags representing the graduates’ nationalities – Kurdish, Iraqi, American, British, Canadian, Dutch, Filipino, German, Pakistani, Swedish, and Turkish – were carried into the hall followed by a procession of ISC-Erbil High School faculty. “Today we gather to celebrate the accomplishments of 40 students in the ISC-Erbil Class of 2013,” she began. “Collectively they have faced and overcome academic and personal challenges; they have demonstrated persistence and commitment in the pursuit of knowledge; they have fulfilled the rigorous requirements to graduate.”
Following Bokhari’s welcome, three distinguished guest speakers addressed the graduates, among them SABIS® President, Carl Bistany. He offered the graduates some words of advice. “Remember that there is no shortcut to learning. Learning takes time, determination, and hard work if it is to be meaningful. University is no different. I urge you to remember this, even if you find that your time at ISC–Erbil has made the transition to undergraduate studies easier than you expected.”
In keeping with SABIS® tradition, the graduation ceremony included the opportunity to hear from students representing the graduating class. With remarkable poise, Mina Bassam Ahmed, Mohammed Nihro Saeed, and Alan Muhsin Khaledi each turn a turn at the podium, thanking those who were instrumental in helping them earn their high school diplomas and looking ahead to the future. “We are educated! The high school diploma we receive today is evidence of that,” said Mina in closing her speech. “Some may think of it as the ticket to the good life, but we think of it as the ticket to being able to change the world. And that is exactly what we plan to do!”
In his commencement addressed following the SABIS® President, Kurdistan Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, thanked SABIS® for its involvement in Kurdistan in private education as well as in the successful public-private partnership schools. He expressed his optimism for the future of Kurdistan and the role that the graduates could play as well-educated citizens. He encouraged them pursue tertiary education and then take on active roles in building a strong future for the nation.
The ceremony, which was broadcast live on Kurdish television, marks an important milestone in the history of ISC-Erbil, which opened its doors in 2006. The school, which implements the SABIS® Educational System currently educates close to 2000 students enrolled in Kindergarten through Grade 12.