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Welcome Remarks by the President of American University of Nigeria, Dr. Margee Ensign at the 13th Commencement Ceremony of the university on Saturday, May 21, 2022

Welcome Remarks by the President of American University of Nigeria, Dr. Margee Ensign at the 13th Commencement Ceremony of the university on Saturday, May 21, 2022

This graduation ceremony represents the fulfilment of many years of hard work.  It celebrates the launching of you—dear students—into your various futures.  

You and your families have my most sincere congratulations and my very best wishes.

We are especially grateful to have with us today both the Founder of this university, His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, GCON, who has made AUN-made all of this possible--and Her Excellency Mary Beth Leonard, US Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

Both of our guests, distinguished both in their countries and in their brilliant careers, are very much concerned about the future:  the future of Nigeria, the future of the US and of the world.  So let me share with you a few very brief final reflections. Reflections about your future.

Your future and our future. For we--all of us--are in this together: the challenges, the responsibilities, and the opportunities belong to us all.

Let me begin with Nigeria. 

Nigeria has one of the fastest-growing populations on earth.  That means that in the not too distant future, Nigeria will be the third-largest country in the world after China and India.  Nigeria is also a democracy, and in this world, democracy is always under threat, tyrants and potential tyrants abound.

So the future of Nigeria, in spite of its many natural and human resources, the future here is a challenging one. Problems of poverty, violence, illiteracy, environmental degradation, unemployment, sustainability, good governance--all these and many other challenges loom. 

As a “development university,”  it is just such challenges that we were created to research, understand, teach about, and solve.  Thanks to. our outstanding faculty for all your hard and important work.

In the world beyond Nigeria, there is the spectre of climate change, and the creation and maintenance of a prosperous, stable, and peaceful international order consisting of many different societies, systems and cultures.

It will require cooperation on an unprecedented scale to see us through this very difficult period of human history. 

So this is the future you graduates face, the future into which you now graduate. And this is the future through which you must help to lead us all.

Because here at AUN you have been trained to be just such leaders.  You have been trained to think for yourselves.  You have been trained to think creatively, rigorously, and honestly. 

You have been trained in how to distil the truth from a world of confusion, misinformation and lies. 

And because of our hands-on education, and problem-solving approach you have also experienced real-world problems yourselves, and you have pitched in. You have worked hard to make this a better world right here in Yola.  And you learned that it is possible. Learned that it is very possible to make positive change 

As I have travelled the globe, I have come to appreciate the vital role that educated young people will play and must play, in the world drama that is unfolding.  

The future of humankind, and indeed of Earth itself, will rest on your shoulders.   STOP

Nigeria, like all countries, like my own country, must decide--in each generation—must decide what sort of nation it will be. 

What sort of women and men will lead your governments,  your industry, lead your schools, lead all of your institutions? 

 In what direction will Nigeria lead Africa?   There are choices to be made, there are responsibilities to be borne.  Young people like you are the ones to make those choices.

I believe that in the 21st Century, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, will play a central role on the world stage. 

I believe in Nigeria’s future, and I believe in you. 

The world needs you. It needs your creativity, your strength, your hearts, and your minds.  Your hard work.

 AUN Class of 2022--Reach high.  Work hard.  Commit to the common good. Help to forge a better world for us all. 


American University of Nigeria
98 Lamido Zubairu Way
Yola Township bypass
PMB 2250, Yola
Adamawa State, Nigeria
Tel: +234 805-200-2962