AUK 2023 valedictorian hails Peshmerga sacrifices for protecting Kurdish freedom
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The valedictorian for the American University of Kurdistan (AUK) in Duhok praised the role of the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces for protecting the people’s freedom.
The AUK held its fourth graduation ceremony on Sunday for the class of 2023. More than a thousand guests, including senior Iraqi and Kurdistan Region officials, attended the commencement ceremony.
Areen Masrour Barzani, majoring in Security and Strategic Studies, earned the highest cumulative GPA in his graduating class.
“We would not be here standing in front of the iconic Mustafa Barzani building without those who sacrificed their lives to enable us to witness this day: enjoying safety, security, and prosperity in our beloved land,” he stated.
The top graduate also hailed the diverse AUK community, where he spent four years of his studies among students coming from various ethnic and religious backgrounds, including Yezidis, Christians, and Muslims.
“Within these walls, diverse perspectives are heard and understood. Different cultures and traditions are embraced and respected,” he said, praising his fellow graduates and students for the academic excellence they performed.
He recalled his father’s dream of establishing a high-quality and English-language university in the Kurdistan Region, so local students could benefit from the same top-rated education as students receive in the west.
Areen is the son of the Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, who is the chairman of the AUK Board of Trustees, and the grandson of the Kurdistan Democratic Party leader, Masoud Barzani, the longest-serving Kurdish president.
Other notable officials who attended the ceremony included Iraqi Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Al-Halboosi and Kurdistan Region's current President Nechirvan Barzani.
The AUK was founded in 2014 as a non-profit, special-status institution of higher learning and aims “to shape the next generation of leaders through its curriculum and exceptional faculty.”