(November 24-26, 2016)
Wawasan Open University recently awarded honorary degrees to two global women leaders at the helm of international organisations that work towards the betterment of people and society, during the seventh convocation ceremony.
The recipients of WOU’s Honorary Doctor of Letters degree were Professor Asha Kanwar, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), headquartered in Vancouver, Canada and Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood, Under Secretary General for Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), based in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr Jemilah is the founder of MERCY Malaysia, a medical charity which she led as President from 1999 to 2009.
In his convocation address, Chancellor Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah lauded the honorary graduates for their achievements “in their respective field of expertise and for raising the global profile of women in leadership”.
He highlighted the importance of unity in diversity and urged all to make Malaysia better for our future generations. “As citizens who love Malaysia, we want to see the nation develop further, for the ringgit to be strengthened, for the country to prosper socio-economically, and for the general standard of living of the rakyat to improve. For this to happen, we require those in administration and leaders representing the interests of the people to be of high calibre, capable, honest, trustworthy, accountable and transparent individuals.”
He continued, “A peaceful Malaysia, with united citizens, with minimal violence in its midst, with proper management of the nation’s wealth, with all the positive values of a healthy society, will make the country stronger and better. This is the kind of country we can be proud of and which we want our descendants to inherit.”
Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, in congratulating Prof Kanwar and Dr Jemilah, said, “As individuals and leaders, they dare to step up and impact societies and nations with the strength of their vision, passion and determination.”
Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon added, “These two global women leaders are excellent examples of strong commitment and absolute dedication to the ideals of service to the people in their own nations and to the world at large in the field of education and health care respectively. They have brought positive changes and real meaning to the lives of many people, especially the disadvantaged. They are indeed good role models for all of us to emulate.”
In her inspiring video acceptance message, Dr Jemilah mentioned the realities of living in an increasingly polarised world, and implored, “How do we make sure we do not allow this degree of polarisation to happen in our own backyards?”
She told the graduates to reflect on how they will “contribute to society, whether in Malaysia or outside, to think of yourself not just as Malaysian citizens but also global citizens” and “to make your mark in the world today”.
The convocation held at the main campus over three days produced a total of 622 fresh graduates at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Among them was the first batch of 45 graduates from the full-time, on-campus learning (OCL) programmes.
The remaining 577 formed the part-time, open distance learning (ODL) graduates from the undergraduate (423) and postgraduate (154) programmes. They included the first batch of graduates from the Bachelor’s degree programmes in English Studies (5), Multimedia Design (1), and Networks & Data Communication (1).
For their excellent academic performance, the most outstanding graduate from the ODL postgraduate programme, Irene Cheng Chiew Ping, won the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Memorial Prize, while the top graduate from the undergraduate programme, Kalaiyalagan Karuppiah, won the Chancellor’s Gold Medal. The inaugural Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik Memorial Gold Prize for top OCL graduate went to Shirley Leong Yan Yan.