Text by SI Scholarship Holder Anwarul Quadir from Bangladesh
The Swedish Institute Network for Global Leaders (NFGL) Diploma Ceremony was held on 27 May 2016. It was a memorable evening, which gave rise to mixed emotions in the minds of the scholarship holders. On the one hand there was the joy of graduating, while on the other there was the sad feeling of finishing the study life, the scholarship period and, for many of us, our time in Sweden. The Diploma Ceremony was held at the Blue Hall of the City Hall of Stockholm, well known for hosting the grand banquet dinner of the Noble Prize. The hall was decorated with utmost care to receive the scholars in a grand manner.
SI Director-General Annika Rembe kicked off the event with a welcoming speech. She described this event as a yearly milestone for SI, as it is their biggest event with more than 500 SI scholarship holders from all around the globe in attendance. She congratulated everyone and asked us to choose our path so as to make incredible things happen.
Then Sweden’s Minister of Higher Education and Research, Helene Hellmark Knutsson, came to the stage. Her speech emphasized the need for the sharing of ideas and she expressed her satisfaction seeing so many female scholarship holders. She ended by wishing that our generation will work together in order to save the world and the generations to come.
Two students got the once in a lifetime opportunity to give speeches on behalf of the graduating scholarship holders. First up on stage was Bohdana Kozubenko from Ukraine. Her speech was brimmed with emotions and touched everyone’s heart. She painted a detailed picture of the moment when she came to know that she was selected for the scholarship. The vital thing that she mentioned was the potential of us, the scholarship holders.
Then the energetic, charming and funny Daniel Ddiba came to the stage. He congratulated everyone for completing our degrees from one of the best higher education systems in the world. Now when we look at the world map, he declared, it will not be names of the countries and cities that we see, but rather the faces of the friends we made during this time together. Following Daniel, SI alumna Georgina Chavez of Bolivia welcomed the SI scholars to the SI Alumni network—a membership that lasts for a lifetime. Chavez gave examples of how the alumni are working together throughout the world and instilled eagerness amongst the future members. Following the speeches and a photo session with the dignitaries, a grand dinner was served.
For most of the graduates, this scholarship is the best thing that has happened in their life. SI has opened the doors to learning opportunities and developing practical skills. The provided international exposure has ensured us becoming global citizens. Being active and taking interest can change the world. The time in Sweden has helped them to boost their confidence as future global leaders. The scholars are now ambassadors for Sweden who will blend in with the global population by using the knowledge gained on this glorious journey.
Noble prize laureate Professor Mohammad Yunus once said “Human beings are much bigger than just making money”. Taking this message to heart, the scholars will now try to make a difference to the world. We are equipped with education, knowledge and leadership skills that will help us to contribute to our societies. We will surely work to make this world a better place for the future generations.
Thanks to SI and the Swedish government for having the confidence and trust in us!
For more stories from the Diploma Ceremony, click here!