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2023 Commencement: Bisma Ahmad says on-campus graduation is "a beautiful ending" to COVID saga

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

The Global Business Journalism website is pleased to share the complete texts of many of the speakers at our 2023 graduation ceremonies. Today we hear from Bisma Ahmad, a 2023 valedictorian from Pakistan. Her award-winning journalism portfolio analyzed the startup culture in the Pakistani technology sector and examined the future of Silicon Valley as the global leader in tech startups.

Bisma Ahmad: "Let's try be better versions of ourselves while excelling in whatever we do. " (GBJ photo by Rick Dunham)

Thank you, everyone. It's an absolute honor to be here today with the dean of the school, guests, prestigious faculty members, and all of my fellow graduates. Last year, if someone had told me that Bisma Ahmad would be graduating on the campus of Tsinghua University instead of online, I would never have believed them. This still feels like a dream to me, but even if it is a dream, this is a beautiful ending.

Studying at a renowned university with a diverse learning experience, I knew this was my chance to be the Bisma my mom believed and prayed I could be. However, this opportunity to study here on scholarship far away from my home country Pakistan did not come easy when the world was struck by the COVID-19 outbreak. People around me told me to give up and that I would never be able to graduate from the Tsinghua campus. Despite the discouraging voices around me, I believed that the ending of this significant chapter of my life was in my hands.

We have all fought untold battles within ourselves and made sacrifices, and look how far we all have come. Congratulations! You all made it. It is up to us how we want to tell the story of our lives.

Our time at Tsinghua gave us many opportunities to grow and resources to use. It helped us shape ourselves by asking questions about who we are and what we genuinely want to be. These opportunities and resources have prepared us well to enter graduate schools or the workforce. We made friends and connections with people from all over the globe that will last a lifetime. During our time here we were privileged to be staying in the capital, the political center of China, enriched with diversity and history. In these past five months I realized how lucky we all are to have this China experience.

GBJ Professor Jake Haselkorn applauds as Bismad Ahmad receives her diploma. (GBJ photo by Rick Dunham)

As we are about to enter the next unknown chapter of our lives. Let's try be better versions of ourselves while excelling in whatever we do. We must not forget to be part of a positive change.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to our esteemed professors for their guidance, wisdom, and relentless commitment to nurturing our academic and professional growth and to the staff who worked tirelessly coordinating our lives and events.

This journey ends with many tears that we might be shedding and fear of starting a new chapter of our lives. Thanks to all the peers of this school who have prepared us well. But most of all, cheers to all Tsinghua memories of love, hangovers, success, and laughter that we all will forever cherish.

As I look back, I want to thank God, all professors, my family and friends for supporting me to become the proud Bisma I am today. My sister, who is sitting here today, you are my superhero.

To all of international students who are graduating today, as we all will be leaving campus soon, let’s remember all dark days and good ones which helped us grow and shape our identities in this diverse environment that the School of Journalism and Communication had to offer. We all struggled in our own ways, whether it be studying online in odd time zones while facing power failures, miserably living in a quarantine hotel or not being able to see each other, or getting rejected from our dream internship. But what matters is how we overcame these struggles, and are here today as the graduating class of 2023. Without those challenges, we wouldn't have had such inspiring yet hilarious stories to tell our future selves.

From now on we all will carry theses little pieces of this Tsinghua journey forever as part of our soul.

Thank you, everyone.



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