Students speak at convocation

Oct 03, 2002, vol. 25, no. 3
By Carol Thorbes



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As he prepares for convocation almost a month after the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, John Green is reflective. The Simon Fraser University graduand made one of his hardest decisions that day.

A trustee with the Mission school board, Green supported the board's decision not to lower school flags in recognition of the terrorist attack's anniversary.

“As a board, we're dedicated to enhancing multiculturalism and fostering a world view in our schools,” explains Green, an honour political science major. “How would you feel if you had relatives who died in the Korean war or other world tragedies, and there was never any lowering of flags to recognize lives lost then, but there was for these attacks? Our decision not to lower flags was meant to convey that our schools can see beyond what happens in Canada and the U.S.”

One of three student speakers at SFU's convocation ceremonies this fall, Green believes a greater sensitivity to multiculturalism is key to global political stability.

Now headed for law school, the graduate of Mission's Hatzic secondary school dreams of becoming a politician who helps move the world forward in the area of international diplomacy.

Aniq Khamisa, another convocating student speaking at this fall's ceremonies, also wants to use his higher education to foster pluralistic civil societies.

“If you have the privilege of obtaining a higher education, I think it should be used not only to develop yourself but the society in which you take your place,” says Khamisa.

Khamisa's dedication to helping to eradicate the gulf of cultural misunderstandings and the social and economic disparities between developed and developing societies stems from his faith - Islam.

Khamisa is a member of the Ismaili Students Association (ISA). He believes that “people who are in positions of authority and have access to resources have a societal obligation to use that authority and those resources in helping the less fortunate.”

During his pursuit of an honours bachelor of business administration with concentrations in international business and management information systems, Khamisa volunteered extensively with the ISA.

One of the organization's goals this year was to improve the lot for a group of marginalized children.

SFU's faculty of business administration awarded Khamisa a student scholarship for academic excellence and community service.

Like Green, Khamisa wants to attend law school in the hopes of making a global difference.

Gina Gill is the third student speaking at convocation.

As the graduate of Tamanawis secondary school in Surrey prepares her speech she can not help reflecting on a heartfelt belief that was reinforced by 9/11.

“Life is precious and sometimes events like 9/11 help us reflect on and appreciate more what is important to us,” says Gill, majoring in biology with cooperative education.

Influenced by the devastating impact of 9/11, Gill is taking off a year after graduation to travel with her grandmother to India, the origin of their ancestral roots.

Set on becoming a physician, Gill's desire to save lives has led her into volunteer work that has exposed her to the day-to-day realities of her chosen field.

Aside from volunteering for Canadian Blood Services and STEP1, a federal AIDs education program targeting the Asian community, Gill has helped raise funds for Surrey Memorial hospital's children's centre.

This fall's convocation speeches are: John Green, Oct. 3, 9:45 a.m., faculty of arts; Gina Gill, Oct. 3, 2:30 p.m., faculties of education, science and art, and Aniq Khamisa, Oct. 4, 9:45 a.m., faculties of applied sciences and business administration.

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