By Yankuba Jallow
American International University West Africa (AIUWA) on Saturday, 30th May 2020 graduated 203 students with undergraduate degrees.
This is the 4th Graduation Ceremony for the AIUWA. The ceremony was held online due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The over two hundred graduates in the fields of Medicine, Pharmacy, General Nursing, Nursing specialisation in Anesthesia, Perioperative, Psychiatry and Midwifery, Accounting, Economics, Human Resources and Labour Management, Business Administration and Computer Science graduated on Saturday.
Denish Shukla, the Chancellor and Funder President of AIUWA said the 2020 class is unique. He said earlier this year, Coronavirus pandemic has created global crisis resulting in closure of countries, borders, airlines, shops, institutions and schools and universities.
“Yet, through this difficult time, all of you have strived and completed your coursework successfully,” Shukla told students via a virtual graduation ceremony held online.
He added: “You shall be transiting to the next phase of your lives and I can assure you that the next phase will not only be challenging but exciting as well. COVID-19 era commands new ways of life and work and I am certain that with your education, dedication and training, the challenges in the coming times shall be met successfully.”
He enjoined the medical, pharmacy and nursing graduates to strive more because they are needed now more than ever, adding that those in computer science to strive greatly because they will be the backbone of the coming era. He called on the economics, accounting, human resources and labour management graduates to be ready for the challenges lying ahead since they are going to be the drivers of the new economy.
“You are graduates of American International University West Africa armed with knowledge and expertise to meet the challenges of the new coming era. We are confident and proud of you. Collectively, all of you are the future leaders. So move forward with pride and confidence,” he said.
Shukla said the University was founded in 2011 with six students and now they have over one thousand two hundred students. He said out of the two hundred and three graduates, a hundred and seventy-two are Gambians.
Dr. Makie Taal, the Vice-Chancellor of the University said each member from the Class of 2020 had excelled in an exceptional and resilient way.
“You have fulfilled all the requirements to be graduated and designated as professionals in your areas of concentration,” Dr. Taal said.
The Associate Professor in Public Health and Vice-Chancellor said at the American International University they believe in innovation which is their motto.
“When COVID-19 came, we were not panicked but waited to see what happens. When the pronouncement for the closure of all universities was made we got together quickly and brainstormed on the way forward because we couldn’t shut down the University completely,” he said.
He said that when they came up with an online platform where the students continued with their education, the faculty continued and the University as a whole continued.
He said closing down the University would have amounted to sending everyone home including students and faculty staff.
“These are trying times but we have to adapt to challenges that come with this pandemic,” he said.
He added: “What we did was we went online and this was very successful. We were able to adjust accordingly”
He said for the students who were completing their studies in this semester they converted all their dissertations into review format. Instead of them collecting data, we transformed it into review which were all submitted and marked.
“Our online platform went well,” Dr. Taal said.
Dinesh Shukla – Chancellor and Founder of AIUWA
Dr Makie Taal – Vice Chancellor AIUWA