• Saturday, 13 August 2022

President Nechirvan Barzani: Tolerance is the only option we have

President Nechirvan Barzani: Tolerance is the only option we have

In the presence of the Iraqi President, Dr. Barham Ahmad Salih and Kurdistan Region President, Mr. Nechirvan Barzani, a number of party and government officials, representatives and guests from Iraq and foreign nations, professors and academics, the 11th graduation ceremony of the American University of Kurdistan in Iraq – Sulaimani was held on Wednesday evening.

President Nechirvan Barzani delivered the following commencement speech at the ceremony:

Dear Dr. Barham Salih, President of Iraq,

Dear President and Professors of the University,

Dear President and Members of the University Board,

Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening and welcome.

I am pleased to be in Sulaimani today, at an important place, the American University, on a very happy occasion, the graduation ceremony of 291 students of this high-level university.

First, I would like to congratulate each and every graduating student, as well as their parents. I would like to thank the President of the University and all the professors of American University in Sulaimani for educating so many of our beloved youths.

I would like to extend my special congratulations to the 32 graduates from Afghanistan who are graduating from this university today. I hope that with the knowledge they have acquired here, they will support the realization of the hopes and goals of their people. I would like to thank all those who provided the opportunity for these graduates to study at this university, both those who helped these students in the United States, and the Iraqi President, whom I know was very anxious to bring these students here so that they would not miss out on this opportunity, and to continue their studies. I congratulate them.

Congratulations to the founder of the American University of Sulaimani, my dear brother and friend Dr. Barham Salih, the President of Iraq, for always working for the development of this important university in Kurdistan and Iraq.

Dear Graduates,

Today is the beginning of an important and new stage in your lives, which is your entrance into practical life and the workplace. The world outside the university is full of challenges, yet also full of opportunities. You have a lot of knowledge and an important credential. So you can start building an important future for yourself and your country today. Find jobs; don’t miss any job opportunities you get. Then, with your big dreams and hard work, you can increase your work and opportunities even further.

I ask you to become the founders of a new world. A world that you desire. A world in which boys and girls participate equally. It is encouraging to see a balanced participation of successful boys and girls here. This is promising because it symbolizes that both genders are involved in building the future of this country and ready to take responsibility.

Unfortunately, the history of our country is full of wars, oppression and destruction. Past generations have had a very difficult life. Much resistance and struggle has been made so that you can live happier and better than your ancestors and have better opportunities for education and development. Therefore, it is very important that you spread optimism today and encourage a better future for all the peoples of Kurdistan and Iraq.

Your main goal should be to make your life better and improve life in our country. Have confidence in yourselves and your abilities. Use the knowledge you have gained in practice.

Your work is not over. Your responsibility is an endless process. Every day you offer your abilities, every day you contribute to improving the lives of others, you take on more responsibility.

Your work begins today. Difficulties and obstacles may come your way, but you must not give up, and undoubtedly, you will succeed. You can succeed at work because you succeeded in school. Your goal must be great, so that your steps and your work will be great. Your goal must be to change society for a better one, to change the management of the country for the better.

You can do that; indeed you can, because you learned the scientific methods of change in this and other universities and can become the force behind this change. You are the great force of progress and change in this country, improve your lives and advance the country and its society.

Dear Graduates,

You are from diverse parts of the Kurdistan Region and diverse provinces of Iraq, and some of you are from outside of the country. This university brought you together and you succeeded together. You have learned here that success is easier together. Life is happier together. Take the love and togetherness you have learned here to the whole of Iraq. Don’t forget your friends and keep your relationships and affection with each other alive.

You need to make partnership and collaboration a culture. Together you can work to expand rights and freedoms. You, the young people, can always take the initiative to solve problems. Coexistence and science must be the guidelines for your decision-makings and the foundation of the culture that helps the country to develop further.

There are now great schools and universities in the Kurdistan Region. That has always been one of my biggest goals. Because progress in the country begins here. Universities need to play a greater role and become more involved in communities of Kurdistan.

So therefore, I ask you to be prepared for all the obstacles and responsibilities that come your way. Don’t be discouraged and don’t leave your country. Become problem-solving forces. Become the force to solve problems and become the main participants in creating a new life in this country. Rest assured that a good world does not come about by itself, but requires patience, as your continuous work will eventually create this world in Kurdistan and in Iraq.

A good world and a developed country need you. You have to make this a better place for all of us. You are part of the gifted generation that is growing up today and knows that we must protect and repair our environment and planet from very dangerous climate change.

Dear Graduates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the political level in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, the only way to coexist is to accept each other, understand each other and be kind with each other. We have no choice but tolerance! The alternative to peace and coexistence is war and marginalization. The country needs peace and coexistence more than ever, but peace and coexistence has its own prerequisites, and the prerequisite for coexistence is the willingness to become closer and understand each other.

Iraqi leaders all feel the danger of the current situation in the country, while the solution to the country’s problems, and an end to the political stalemate that has swept over the country, is in the hands of the country’s decision makers. The first step in treatment is the will to treat. If each of us takes a step towards a solution, a practical step, we will agree on many common points and put an end to this uneven situation in the country, as the people of Iraq deserve a better life.

In Iraq, we and all communities, majorities and minorities, live together, united within the framework of one country, one constitution defines our rights and entitlements. In this context, we have a common history. I am referring here to the current history of the Federal Republic of Iraq. We are all in “a common present” together, and our future and destiny are together within the borders of a shared Iraq.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I want to remind everyone of this fact: the new federal Iraq, which has a democratic parliamentary system, has come about with the participation of all. All components were involved in creating this new Iraq. Therefore, the prerequisite for the survival of Iraq and its development is about protecting and upholding the rights of all communities.

We, as the Kurdistan Region, see the solution to Iraq’s problems in the implementation of the permanent constitution, as our demands in a federal Iraq are constitutional and lawful. We do not demand anything more than what is in the Iraqi constitution, and never have demanded more. In this regard, I, as the President of the Kurdistan Region, call on all Iraqi political parties to try to resolve the outstanding issues that face the country on the basis of the constitution and the rule of law.

We are ready for cooperation in every way and we are willing and have already taken steps to resolve the issues in the country. We will continue to move forward until we reach a solution that will help Iraq to surpass its current situation.

Dear Graduates,

Finally, I turn to you. Education and science are the main ways to achieve welfare and development of the country. You are all science oriented. I ask you to help the development of your country. We rely on your courage and efforts for the progress of this country.

I congratulate all of you again from the depth of my heart, and wish you all a happy time. Thank you very much.