For the first time, learners from Afghanistan graduated from the University of Central Asia’s School of Professional and Continuing Education, Khorog. At a ceremony held at the the Khorog Theatre on 14 May 2011, 63 Afghan learners received awards together with 139 learners from Tajikistan.
The 5th Graduation Ceremony learners received certificates in Accounting Technology and Certified Accountant Practitioner; Levels Preliminary, 2 and 3 of English for Business; Conversational English; Conversational Russian; Training of Guides; Information Technology; Professional Development Certificates in English and Mathematics; International Computer Driving License credentials; and Certificates in Technical Vocational education.
Members of the local and international community were present, with dignitaries addressing the 500-strong audience, speaking on the importance of SPCE programmes for building individual competencies and fostering regional relationships. The ceremony featured music by the Khorog Garrison Brass Band Orchestra, accompanied by student exhibitions, and a cultural performance followed.
Delegates from the United States and the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) specifically addressed the 63 Afghan graduating learners, who were awarded scholarships as part of the USAID-sponsored Cross Border Vocational Education in Badakhshan (CVEB) project. Kenneth Gross, U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan, said, ”Cross-border training establishes lasting ties for trade, cultural exchange, professional relationships, and mutual understanding, and these are important for the stability of the region.”
First Deputy Governor of GBAO, Mr Ismoil Orifshoev, echoed Ambassador Gross’ sentiments. “We consider this yet another way of further strengthening the friendship and brotherhood between these two related and neighbouring countries.”
Russian Ambassador Yuri Popov, on his first visit to the region said, “I am very excited that today I saw learners receiving credentials in Russian Language; It is my first time in the Pamirs and I find it very beautiful and the realization of my long-time dream. I will be back.”
French Ambassador Henri Zipper de Fabiani also commended SPCE’s French language courses, and noted that the French government’s Memorandum of Understanding with UCA would support future French language courses at SPCE, Khorog.
Also present were UCA Director General, Dr Bohdan Krawchenko, Afghan Consul in Khorog Abdul Hakim Haidari, USAID Country Director for Tajikistan Jeffrey Lehrer, and Representative of Ministry of Education Zulfiya Safarova.
Following the closing remarks delivered by Munir Merali, Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network in Tajikistan, guests enjoyed a cultural performance by SPCE staff and learners. At the Theatre’s main hall, there were UCA, SPCE and graduates’ exhibitions. Several entrepreneurial SPCE graduates hosted exhibitions on their businesses, including a handicrafts business operated by SPCE learners from the Murghab district in the Eastern Pamirs region of GBAO.
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