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                              NOVEMBER 3rd, 2006

                           VALEDICTORY ADDRESS

                             (Ms. Aziza Farrah Javed)

Chancellor Sir George Alleyne, Vice Chancellor Professor E. Nigel Harris,

Campus Principal/Pro Vice Chancellor Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie,

Distinguished Members of the Platform Party, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Fellow Graduates.

The University of the West Indies – words that were once sacred to my ears

slowly transformed into a real and life changing experience from the

moment I was introduced to the campus. An awe-inspiring institution to say

the least, I am not surprised that now, I could stand proudly and profess that

the University has lived up to the reputation that it has carved for the outside

world.     Of utmost significance to my undergraduate years was my

indulgence into UWI life as a young Muslim woman and the comfort in

which I was able to immerse myself within the boundaries of the university


UWI has truly opened my eyes to acceptance, as my entry into the

establishment just two years after the chilling attack on the World Trade

Center, saw the non-Muslim population embrace the Muslims with as much

dignity and respect as was rendered before. Whilst the world at large isolated

Islamic communities, the Islamic society at UWI continued to enjoy the

same security as other groups on campus. Thus, I am thrilled to say that my

time spent at the University has provided me with deep insight, as I continue

to marvel at the warmth which my fellow classmates, friends, the staff and

other members of the compound provided me with. The environment

remained constant throughout my stay and due to this, I could definitely say

that the University of the West Indies maintains the notion of cohesiveness,

representive of a traditional melting pot.

I speak on behalf of all the graduates when I profess how university life has

impacted on my very existence. The experience on campus has simply made

it easier for us graduates to make a simple transition into the world, into

environments that require deep rooted interaction with people of various

backgrounds. It is worth mentioning that my entrance into UWI allowed me

a great opportunity to interact with students from the region, as well as from

other international universities. This allowed communication on many

different levels, as cultures were exchanged, making me more appreciative

of what was previously unknown to me. Therefore, it would be correct to say

that such an experience has only made me more open-minded as to what the

world at large has to offer and in so doing, has deepened my admiration for

cultural diversity.

University life has indeed served to expand my personality as it expresses

itself not merely as a higher institution of learning, but also as it recognizes

the importance of indulgence in social activities as key to self-development.

Many hold a preconceived notion of tertiary institutions as mere centers of

learning, but it takes a first hand experience of UWI life to invalidate this

claim. UWI is more than a mere Centre of Learning. I am certain that all of

my fellow graduates can attest to being members of one club or another,

taking part in events that the University of the West Indies offer, or simply

acquiring some relaxation time to sit in SAC to watch the cricket and

football matches being played, all the while creating a deeper bond by

bringing especially the islanders together in support of one team. Such social

activities tended to stimulate further exchange of ideas between individuals

and groups, promoting the mutual interests of students of varied upbringing,

thereby creating unification on our campus.

For all its worth, my experiences at UWI have been profound, as my

constant scrutiny of the culture of this higher educational institution via the

diligence and hard work of its members, has only served to further motivate

me to “reach for the stars.” My immersion in UWI life has significantly

impacted my desire to succeed, as its competitive environment stimulates all

its students to strive for nothing less than how far their ability will extend.

This is why I have not yet given up my time here, as I continue on my quest

for greater success by advancing my field of study. Credit must therefore be

given to the surroundings here at UWI for emitting an inspiring and

motivating aura, encouraging its undergraduates and postgraduates to be

diligent, so that all of its scholars can reap the fruits of hard work that we the

graduating class of 2006 are gaining today.

My fellow graduates, the journey does not stop here for us all. We have been

given an opportunity to educate ourselves in a university of great caliber, all

in an effort to improve our well-being, as well as that of the wider

community. I can only hope that what we have learnt here will certainly help

to make a great difference in our lives and especially towards the betterment

of our country as a whole. Today, we have been offered a chance to

celebrate our success with all our dear ones: our friends, family and the staff

of the University, all the people who have earnestly helped us on our long

journey. Therefore, I cannot see a more fitting occasion than this to take the

opportunity on behalf of all the graduates to extend my sincere gratitude to

all those who have helped us to reach the point that we have. The trek may

not have always been a smooth one, but we can now definitely say that it

was well worth it, as nothing can compare to the self-satisfaction and self-

validation that is being felt today.

We now enter into a new and exciting world for which UWI has prepared us,

but the memories of our stay here will always be deeply embedded in our

minds. It is up to us at this point to ensure that the mission of this institute be

achieved and to guarantee that the core values which were taught to us

become a reality, as the foundation has already been built. Our contentment

should not be restricted within ourselves, but should be channeled into

ensuring the development of our region. I am certain that we have all

attained personal growth and as such, will be happy to let the university

know that the work of Faculty and the values of administration are by no

means wasted. We are the proud products of an academy that has made an

immense contribution to the Caribbean, a University College professing

itself as „A light that rises from the west.‟ Let us now continue to keep this

flame alive as we head out into the world and may we always ensure that the

respect for our campus is maintained, never forgetting to heed the Alumni‟s

motto of giving something back to UWI for all that it has given to us.

1st November 2006