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President's Message



Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, faculty and staff, parents, and the esteemed Class of 2023. Welcome.

Dear graduating students, today is a momentous occasion, a turning point in your lives, as we gather here to celebrate the culmination of years of hard work and perseverance. It fills me with immense pride and joy to extend my heartfelt congratulations to every one of you for this achievement.

Let us also take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate the support and love from the parents and families present here today. Your belief in your children's potential, the sacrifices you've made, and the countless hours of encouragement have played a pivotal role in bringing them to this very moment. Today, we also applaud your love, guidance, and commitment to their success.

To the exceptional graduating students of Azm University: you have embarked on a transformative journey during your time here. You have pursued knowledge, challenged conventions, and, I hope, discovered your true passions. In classrooms, lecture halls, and laboratories, you've explored the boundaries of your chosen fields, engaging in spirited debates and expanding your intellectual horizons.

However, the essence of your university experience extended far beyond lectures and exams. It resided in the friendships you forged, the connections you made, and the moments of shared laughter and camaraderie. It is in the late study nights, supporting one another through the highs and lows, and the sense of belonging you found within this campus. You have grown not only as students but also as individuals ready to make a positive impact on the world.

Your journey was not without challenges, especially during the unprecedented times of the Covid pandemic. Your early years at Azm University required you to navigate the difficulties of online education, often dealing with limited internet access and electrical power failures. Yet, you demonstrated remarkable resilience and commitment to your education, adapting to the new normal and emerging stronger as a result.

As graduates of the Class of 2023, you can be proud of your accomplishments. You have earned your degrees through perseverance, adaptability, and commitment. The degrees being conferred upon you today are a testament to your hard work and intellectual growth. They are degrees of which you can truly be proud.

As you prepare to embark on new adventures beyond these walls, I urge you not to leave us in your past but to keep Azm University in your sights. Universities hold immense importance, in shaping the future of societies and communities. Tripoli needs a bold and enterprising university like this university. How significant it will be in the future, how it will grow, will depend in large part on how all of us in the community contribute to making it exceptional. As alumni, you must, in the future, be part of its development.

Universities are very important institutions. They not only affect their students, but they also very much affect their larger communities. The better ones affect the world.  

Allow me to take you on a brief tour of the historical importance of universities.

The concept of universities as we understand them today began to take shape around a thousand years ago. Some of the earliest universities have stayed with us for centuries. The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is the oldest non-religious and continuously operating university in the world, home today to 90,000 students. Other prominent universities like Oxford, Salamanca, Paris and Cambridge were created shortly after.  By the 14th century many of Europe’s major cities acquired their own universities.

The establishment of universities coincided, in fact, with the rise of cities, as Europe regained stability after the collapse of the Roman Empire and commerce flourished. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, European cities had shrank considerably. For example, the imperial capital, Rome, which had a population of over one million people at the height of the empire, saw its population shrank to only 30,000 in the Middle Ages. Other cities suffered the same fate. In the nadir of the Middle Ages, only two or three cities in the whole of Europe had a population of more than 50,000.

However, as Europe began to stabilize in the 12th century, commerce and cities once more started to grow, and this brought about the need for professionals. Professionals such as lawyers, builders, architects, pharmacists, and doctors. Universities were created to answer those needs. At first, what was taught at these universities was the wisdom of the Ancients.

For centuries, people in Europe and the Middle East marveled at the accomplishments of ancient civilizations, believing, in fact, that the Ancients were superior and wiser. They saw the huge Giza pyramids in Egypt, the grandiose Roman temples in Baalbeck, or the Colosseum in Rome and gazed at them in awe – specially when they compared them to their modest mud homes. They read Aristotle, Ptolemy, Averroes and Avicenna, and marveled at their wisdom. So, the learned professors at the new universities instructed their students on Roman Law, Euclidian geometry, Aristotle’s Physics and Ethics, and Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine.

However, as universities began producing significant works that provided alternative perspectives, the belief that the present could equal the achievements of the past started to take hold. The fascination with the Ancients began to wane. This period of intellectual revival during the fourteenth and fifteen centuries came to be known as the Renaissance, rebirth. Europe was being reborn.

And then, in the 17th century, the view of the world underwent an even larger paradigm shift. The Earth was removed from the center of the universe, and humanity was no longer considered the pinnacle of creation. The Earth was just one more planet in an incomprehensibly immense universe.

The French philosopher Rene Descartes argued that all previous knowledge was, in fact, unreliable and scholars across Europe agreed with him. The knowledge and discoveries of figures like Newton and Lavoisier surpassed what the Ancients knew, leading scholars to discard traditional teachings.

The debate that had been carried out in universities and in journals on whether the Ancients or the Moderns had superior knowledge was finally settled conclusively. The Moderns triumphed; they knew more, and universities were now convinced that the Ancients were actually wrong, ushering in a time of progress and modernization.

Universities played a pivotal role in these transformations by housing the great minds and promoting reason as the ultimate arbiter of ideas, questioning tradition, and embracing new knowledge. Universities became centers of research, teaching, and critical thinking, where disciplines were shaped and ideas were tested and refined. The successes and accomplishments we have witnessed in the last two centuries are the result of work conducted within universities and by their trained scholars.

Today, we can look at the remarkable achievements of humanity and recognize the influence of universities and their graduates. Here are some examples:

  • Today, on average, men and women live twice as long as people lived just a few generations ago. This is true everywhere in the world, and not just in the developed world. People in the poorest countries today live longer than people in the richest countries lived a hundred years ago.
  • Up to the 19th century, a third of children around the world died before they were five years old. Today, in the richer countries, it is less than one percent, and in the poorer countries just a few percentage points.
  • Maternal mortality, once a leading cause of female deaths, has been reduced drastically.
  • Famine, which was a major cause of death around the globe, has been contained dramatically. Because of the agricultural revolution, the development of crop rotation, mechanization, hybrid seeds and synthetic fertilizers, and transportation networks that can bring food from one area of the world to another, famines have become very rare. Now they do not occur because of a shortage of food as in the past, but rather because of wars and revolutions, as is the case in Yemen and Darfur.
  • Two hundred years ago, by the current definition of extreme poverty, 90 percent of the world lived in extreme poverty. Today the number is nine percent.
  • Until recently only a small number of people could read and write, but this has grown gradually since the invention of printing and today more than 90 percent of people under 25 anywhere in the world can read and write.
  • We also have more leisure time due to the fact we now have things that wash our clothes, take us to where we want to go faster, and because the working day has been reduced to 3/4ths or half of what it was during the Industrial Revolution.

And of course we have gone to the Moon, and can go to Australia in just one day, compared to the month it used to take in the past. If you miss your brother or children working in Dubai, you can pick up the phone and see them while you have a conversation. 

These accomplishments, along with countless others, are the fruits of universities and the dedicated individuals they have nurtured. Universities have been at the forefront of progress, embracing new ideas, and debating them and testing them rigorously before accepting and disseminating them. They have upheld reason and critical thinking, paving the way for advancements and shaping a better future for all.

This is how we need to see universities. At Azm, we take pride in fostering openness, encouraging discussion, and promoting critical thinking. We believe that universities must not only teach but, more importantly, promote a love of knowledge, critical and open thinking, foster research, providing an environment where ideas are examined, challenged, and refined. We want to be participants in the challenge of improving our world, and we will start by paying attention to our own community, hopefully making a difference right here in this city once known as the City of Knowledge and Scholars.

Class of 2023, as you step into the next chapter of your lives, armed with your well-earned degrees, I ask you to carry the spirit of Azm University with you. Let reason guide your thinking and humanity your actions. Embrace new ideas, and never stop learning. Remember the transformative power of education and the role you can play in shaping a brighter future for yourselves, your communities, and the world.

Congratulations, Class of 2023. Today, we celebrate your achievements and eagerly await the contributions you will make as you embark on your individual journeys.




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