President Nechirvan Barzani attended the graduation ceremony of Soran University on October 22. The President delivered a speech in the presence of government and party officials, diplomats, foreign representatives, university professors, academics, and relatives of the university’s students. The following is a readout of the President’s speech:
Dear graduates and families,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening and welcome all
I would like to extend a warm welcome to the diplomatic envoys who took the time and came from Erbil.
We are delighted to be gathered here this evening to celebrate the graduation of 1,366 young students of Soran University, as well as several successful postgraduate students, for the academic year 2022-23. Let us all join in the celebration of our young graduates.
I extend my best wishes to each and every one of you and wish you continued success. I would also like to congratulate and thank the parents, relatives, teachers, presidency, and staff of the university for their unwavering support and encouragement. Today is a joyous day for us all. We take great pride in our graduates.
In 2009, when Soran University was established, we envisioned an evening like this, when hundreds of young men and women from different departments and specialties would graduate from university and embark on a new chapter of their lives. The establishment of the university was part of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) program for this beautiful area.
And now, after the Kurdistan Regional Government established an independent administration for this region, it has been implementing various projects for roads, water, electricity, construction, and other areas. We congratulate and support them. I must say that I did not particularly support the establishment of an independent administration at the time. But Mr. Halgurd, who now has that responsibility, came to me once and after talking to me, I said that I have gained faith now [in establishing an administration] and it is a great idea; and I also want to congratulate them very much. We also thank Mr. Kurmanj who was previously responsible here and really played a significant role in what has been done in this area. Congratulations to all of you; I wish you success in serving Kurdistan and our people.
After fourteen years, we can see the university’s mark and impact on the area. This year, as in previous years, it ranked first among universities in the Kurdistan Region, which brings us great pride and joy. I would like to congratulate the president, the presidency, the teachers, students, and staff of the university for their active role in this achievement. I hope to see you continue your great success.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the founding staff of Soran University. The former rector and his staff worked tirelessly to lay solid foundations for a good university in this area, and they succeeded in this task.
Yesterday, the area of Soran and its surroundings played a significant part in Kurdistan’s revolutions and the enduring struggle of generations of Kurdish people for freedom and prosperity. Today, as we witness the graduation of another class of university students, we owe the people of this area our gratitude for their immense sacrifices. Those who fought and gave their lives for the prosperity and wellbeing of our nation, today we honour and remember them.
It is important to recognize the remarkable legacy that our ancestors left here. Through their relentless efforts, they endured countless hardships to secure your freedom and pave the way for a better future. As you graduate from university, it is now your responsibility to fulfil their dreams and aspirations in a free and developed Kurdistan.
However, it is crucial to understand that obtaining a university degree does not mark the end of your hard work and responsibilities. On the contrary, it signifies the beginning of a journey full of work, innovation, creativity, and service. Each one of you must strive to excel in your respective fields and actively contribute to the country’s development.
You are the future leaders of our nation, and the fate of our country rests in your hands. Through your dedication to work and service, your knowledge, loyalty, and patriotism, you are shaping the future of Kurdistan. Your task is great, demanding serious commitment and effort. We have full confidence that you will meet these expectations and fulfil your responsibilities. With young individuals like yourselves, the future of Kurdistan is destined to be brighter and better.
Kurdistan’s youth must strive for a better future with hope and perseverance, refusing to succumb to discouragement caused by problems and crises. It is imperative to prevent the infiltration of extremist ideologies into Kurdish society. It is important to remember that these challenges will eventually pass, and through the collective efforts of the Kurdish people and their loyal citizens, a brighter future will be attained.
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the loyal citizens of Kurdistan who have consistently demonstrated their understanding of the situation, taking into account the prevailing crisis and the challenging financial circumstances, and showing their resilience in the face of adversity. We assure the people of Kurdistan that the government remains committed to resolving and overcoming these problems and crises.
The Kurdistan Regional Government is engaged in earnest discussions with the Iraqi Federal Government in this regard. We express our gratitude for the responsible stance taken by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani, who has demonstrated a genuine desire to reach a mutual understanding and find a solution with the Kurdistan Regional Government. Our hope is to achieve a resolution that aligns with the Constitution and the federal system, benefiting the entirety of Iraq.
Therefore, I urge the teachers and employees in the education and higher education sectors across Kurdistan, particularly in areas affected by crises and salary delays, to ensure that education and teaching do not become casualties of these circumstances. Let us keep the doors of schools, institutes, and colleges open. We are fully aware of the challenges you face in your daily lives, and we assure you that the government will exert every effort to improve the situation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The university serves as the hub of scientific inquiry, knowledge acquisition, education, and the study of epistemology. A graduate of a university should exemplify success, creativity, constructive thinking, critical analysis, initiative, and open-mindedness. They should actively contribute to problem-solving across all disciplines, while also playing a role in enhancing the cultural and intellectual awareness of individuals and society.
Consequently, the university must consistently prioritize the delivery of high-quality education. It should leverage the latest advancements in science and technology, continuously updating its curriculum and practices in all fields. Special attention should be given to both scientific and humanities disciplines, fostering ongoing collaboration and communication with other universities and scientific institutions worldwide.
Humanity finds itself in an entirely new era, characterized by rapid advancements in technology and artificial intelligence. These developments bring forth significant opportunities, but also complex risks. Fields such as chemistry, physics, biology, humanities, and social sciences are subject to constant renewal. Pressing issues and crises, including climate change, cyber security threats, the emergence of new diseases and epidemics, poverty eradication, and social, political, economic, and administrative challenges, continuously present new prospects and obstacles.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is imperative that our universities have exceptional research centers and consistently conduct research in various fields. They should actively participate in finding solutions to problems and crises, as well as in combating risks. It is only through science and knowledge that we can secure a better future and establish ourselves in developed societies. Therefore, we reaffirm our support for the development of universities.
As the region faces a complex situation, unity and mutual understanding are more crucial than ever, particularly in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. We must carefully consider all possibilities and take necessary measures to maintain peace and stability in our country.
In Iraq, we must prioritize the highest interests of our people and country above all else. We must remain vigilant and prevent our country from being engulfed in conflict and chaos in the region. Such a scenario would only bring damage, instability, and an uncertain fate to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.
In the Kurdistan Region, we must foster a common understanding among all political parties and communities to eliminate political conflict, resolve issues, and overcome challenges. Only through unity and solidarity can we safeguard our constitutional rights and achievements.
In conclusion, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the graduates, their families, the president, teachers, and staff of Soran University. Additionally, I would like to congratulate this year’s new students. I say to you: You are lucky, you have had the good fortune to enter a successful institution like Soran University and continue your studies. I hope to see you always succeed, prosper and find joy.
I also must mention the efforts of another person: Dr. Idris Hadi, who was the Minister of Higher Education at the time, when Soran University was established, whose work and tireless efforts I sincerely appreciate.
I wish you all a good evening and I wish you all success. May God protect you and bring you success in the service of our country, Kurdistan. Congratulations and long live Kurdistan.