Last week President Steven Knapp jetted to Morocco for the Commencement Ceremony of Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, where he attended a Board of Trustees meeting and keynoted the graduation ceremony.
In prepared marks, Knapp focused on the shared visions – continual education and service among them – of both GW and Al Akhawayn and how the 15-year-old university is “boldly innovative.”
“I come to you from a distant university that is in many ways very different from yours. It is quite a bit older, has more students, and lies at the heart of a sprawling metropolis, far from any mountains that might compare with the beauty of yours! But our two institutions have much in common — certainly more than might be obvious from a quick glance at the facts I just mentioned. To begin with, each was created with a purpose in mind, reflecting a very clear vision of what a university might be and what role it might play in the life of an emerging nation. That is not true of many of the world’s universities, including many of the most famous”
Knapp serves on the Board of Trustees at AUI because of a partnership between the two universities that began in 1999. This is the first time Knapp has been to the country, he said. The two schools are “jointly planning an international conference on cyber security to take place in Morocco,” University spokeswoman Candace Smith said.
“AUI is unusual among Moroccan universities because all instruction is in English; also because its is a private university, whereas most Moroccan universities are public,” Knapp said in an e-mail from Morocco. “This trip is an opportunity to strengthen our ties both with AUI and with a very significant part of the world.”
Knapp also recounted tales of GW’s founding and its recent Commencement Ceremony where first lady Michelle Obama was the keynote speaker.
Saturday’s Commencement Ceremony was the largest for the university with 259 students receiving diplomas.