Thursday, May 26, 2011

Graduation is Historic Event for IUCA

The class of 2011 is now in the history books. Wednesday marked the first graduation for the International University of Central Asia...and it was an exciting day.

For one to fully appreciate the significance of this university and this day, one must understand that most of the students who attend IUCA come from homes that are at or below the poverty level.  For most students, it is not thinking about the next music video to buy, or outfit to purchase - it is thinking about having enough money for lunch the next day  We have come to love these students...they bring us incredible joy with their enthusiasm and joy, even amidst challenging times.

We had the privilege yesterday attending the graduation. Here are some pictures of this historic event:

With us, Krgyz and Russian teacher, Damaria, behind her the Chinese teacher and business administration department head in front of David.

Natalia is head of the education faculty, and she is joined by the head of  IT and Chinese. 

Tatyana is head of the linguistics faculty - we met her our very first week in the country in April, 2008.  Nuria is the head of international relations and new vice president and the registrar is next to her.

David is waiting to be introduced as the new chairman of the board, next to him is John, president of Mercy Foundation and James, out-going chairman of the board. 

Part of the threatened rain all day, but stayed away until later in the evening.

Ulan and Sonya, the first IUCA graduates. I have had both of them in class and they are outstanding young people with a bright future.  When I asked Sonya what she wanted to do after graduation, she said, "Serve my country."  She will spend the next two years in Taiwan getting her masters in public health and returning to this country.  Ulan plans to work in a university in Bishkek in the international relations area after getting his masters.

Elder Yang, founder of Mercy Foundation and IUCA. He will be 85 his next birthday and continues to serve God throughout Central Asia. 

David addresses the gathering as the new board chairman. 

Camilla is the university president.
The coveted diploma

Off on a new journey
 After the ceremony, we enjoyed a concert and dancing from local students. We love the richness of this culture.

 Playing the Komuz.
Dancers from Bishkek does the board president say no when the university president asks him to dance.....well, you don't!!!

David was caught off guard when Camilla got up and walked over and asked him to dance --- just the two of them in front of everybody.  All you who know David can only imagine what he is thinking at that moment. We loved joining in the celebrations.

After the evening's activites, a beautiful young lady, the one who told us she prayed for us everyday, walked over to David and said to him, " I love our university. May God bless this university."

This is Acel...when she began singing, everyone stopped.  She was amazing and gifted by God.

That is our prayer, too.  We love this university -  we love the students who have come across our lives.  May God's hand rest on this very special place. May it make a life-changing impact on the young people who come.  May these young people change the course of their country and their generation.

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