Dr. Timothy O'Connor's speech during his Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.

Dr. Timothy O'Connor's speech during his Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.

November 20, 2023


Dr. Timothy O'Connor's speech during his Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.


Good afternoon, dear guests, students, and colleagues!
I am glad to welcome you to this important event for our university today. Taking the opportunity to say a few words, I would like to share with you a few important, in my opinion, thoughts.
First of all, I would like to address our students. On my behalf and on behalf of the entire American University in Central Asia staff, we fully appreciate your choice to study at our university. Regardless of whether you made this choice a few months or a few years ago, we are glad that every day you continue to choose to study at AUCA.
My appointment to the post of president took place only a few months ago, but during this time, I managed to feel the university's spirit. Accepting the invitation of colleagues, I knew that AUCA's values coincide with mine.
AUCA's mission is to train highly qualified specialists and highly educated citizens aware of and responsible for creating a more just, prosperous, and open society.
To realize its mission, the university strives to create all conditions for the disclosure of students' individual potential. At AUCA, we believe that every student, without exception, carries this potential, and the university's task is to find suitable ways to realize it. Here, I am talking not only about the technical side of the issue, that is, not only about teaching methods and technologies but also about the emotional component. In the learning process, self-awareness and faith in your abilities are extremely important, and I would like your self-confidence to only increase within the walls of AUCA.
However, the responsibility for learning outcomes between the university and students is distributed equally. As I have said, the university creates conditions and opportunities, but the student's task is to take advantage of them.
Freedom, creativity, and critical thinking are highly valued at the university. Focusing on the model of liberal arts and sciences, AUCA provides a versatile education, combining humanities, social, natural, and exact directions. This meets the requirements of a rapidly changing world, considering that many researchers predict the gradual disappearance of the division into narrow specializations.
There is another point that AUCA strives for in its work. Professional self–realization is undoubtedly essential, but personal self-realization is no less important - I mean achieving a happy and fulfilled life. Yes, probably teaching students to be happy is quite an ambitious goal for the university, but I am sure we can move in this direction. I am convinced that happiness is a skill we develop through following our values. Self-exploration and self-understanding come to the rescue here, and the university can help.
Now, I would like to address the most important people in the lives of our students – parents and relatives. Every day, I see many talented, versatile, open, and curious young people, and I understand that your contribution is difficult to overestimate. I know firsthand that being a parent is not an easy daily job, and if I can welcome you here today, then I absolutely know that you have coped with it perfectly.
Yesterday's schoolchildren and almost graduates study in our walls. As a university, we strive to ensure students are motivated and interested, but we also need your support. Regardless of age, children always remain children, and nothing can replace warm, inspiring words from parents who sincerely believe in their success.

In addition, I adhere to the idea that the well-being of a community begins with the mutual care of each of its participants for each other.
In my opinion, you who cultivate this quality in your children – future citizens of the country who are responsible for further transforming local and global communities.

In this regard, I want to tell you a story. At the turn of the XIX and XX centuries, engineer Alexander Veniaminovich Bari, who founded an extremely successful engineering company, lived in Russia. A talented specialist and entrepreneur, he was also an exceptional family man – he and his wife raised nine children. The daughters made their parents very happy, but the grown-up sons, on the contrary, often upset them. Even though the engineer was sad and painful to watch his sons, he "never read morals – to adult children, and little ones too," as his daughter Evgenia writes in her diaries. He said that you can only teach by example, and this approach seems the most fair.
And now, I want to address representatives of private companies and government agencies. I am glad that future employers will be lucky enough to meet our graduates very soon. We at AUCA are proud of them because they have mastered the necessary professional and personal skills. In the person of our graduates, you can find like-minded people ready to support initiatives to change the world for the better.
However, students are not only ready for transformation. With an emphasis on the humanities, we strive to emphasize the importance of preserving and maintaining the monumental local culture. Almost every year, on the eve of the birthday of the greatest Kyrgyz writer, Chyngyz Aitmatov, various events are held at AUCA on December 12. His contribution to Kyrgyz and world literature is outstanding, and the depth of thought and subtle psychology make you immerse yourself in the process of self-knowledge, without which the same personal self-realization is impossible. By supporting such initiatives, we help the foundations of Kyrgyz society and the state.
At the end of my short speech, I would like to read the traditional text with which each AUCA president ends his inaugural speech.

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