New Delhi: South Asian University conducted its second convocation at the Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra, Chanakyapuri, today. The ceremony was presided over by Mr. Deep Kumar Upadhayay, Ambassador of Nepal to India as the nominee of SAU’s Visitor. The Chairperson of SAARC is the Visitor of the university, the Chairmanship being held by Nepal currently. Mr. MJ Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs, Govt. of India was the Chief Guest. Mr. Amjad Hussain B. Sial, the recently elected Secretary General of SAARC was also present as a guest of honour along with noted academicians, high ranking diplomats and other dignatiaries from around the South Asia region.
185 students – 21 are from Afghanistan, 28 from Bangladesh, one from Bhutan, one from Maldives, 16 from Nepal, 11 from Pakistan and 3 from Sri Lanka while the rest 104 are from India, representing all the eight SAARC countries received their Masters Degrees. 9 students received their MPhil Degrees – one each from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan and 6 from India. The Degrees, in various programmes that include Applied Mathematics, Biotechnology, Computer Science, Development Economics, International Relations, Legal Studies and Sociology, were given out by the Nepalese Ambassador Mr. Upadhayay. 11 programme toppers were honoured with the SAU Gold Medal by the Chief Guest.
Ambassador Upadhayay while congratulating the graduating students also made an appeal to them to use their ‘wisdom and enthusiasm to embrace the responsibility to build a prosperous South Asia. The region is not just about poverty and backwardness but more to do with the potential and determination that the nations of the regions share, he added.
In his speech, Mr. MJ Akbar said that SAARC has been around for 32 years and the next 32 years will be more important and the people who will determine the next 32 years of the regional body and the region itself were the ones getting their degrees in the convocaiton. History could not be changed but the future of knowledge could be, he added.
South Asian had seen a lot of hardships in the last century but 21st century was all about opportunities and fulfilments, he said. While streesing upon the important role the teachers play in shaping the future of a generation, he said the opposite of destruction was not necessarily creation, but it could also be instruction.
Mandated to inculcate a sense of regional consciousness among the young minds of the South Asian region while imparting cutting-edge knowledge, South Asian University was established by the eight governments which constitute. The university took off in 2010 with two Masters Degree Programmes. Today, SAU offers seven Masters and an equal number of doctoral programmes.
In her welcome speech, Dr. Kavita Sharma, President of SAU informed the audience about the construction of the permanent campus of SAU that was going on at an impressive pace on a 100 acre plot in Maidan Garhi in South Delhi. The university, now poised to enter its second phase after incorporating the recommendations of the Detailed Academic Planning Committee that was constituted by the Governing Board of SAU, would ideally move to this permanent campus by the time it got into the second phase, she hoped.
Mr. Amjad Hussain B Sial, the SAARC Secretary General congratulated the graduating students of South Asian University and acknowledged that SAU is possibly the most successful project of the regional body. He also expressed hope that these students would play an important role in the future of the region.