American University of Beirut

FSP graduate speaks at the AUB commencement ceremony 2019

​​​​​​​​​The Food Security Program (FSP) and Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FAFS) are ​proud of Kelvin Kimani, a 2019 graduate of the FSP, who delivered an inspiring speech at the AUB graduate commencement.​​


AUB President Dr. Fadlo Khuri highlighted Kelvin's remarkable speech in his "President's Perspective" as follows: "Those lucky enough to hear the address of graduate speaker, Kelvin Kimani, who received a master's of science in food security, are unlikely to forget the experience any time soon. A Mastercard Foundation scholar, Kelvin grew up alone and sleeping in the streets of the notorious Mathare slums of Nairobi. His life was turned aro​und by the heroic intervention of a simple Catholic missionary who gave him a home and family, and whose values taught him that “the rock bottom life that I came from was a good foundation on which to build and transform not just myself but my community as well." It is rare to encounter such an authentic story of deliverance as Kelvin's, and we do well to heed the wisdom that journey has imparted on this remarkable human being."

Kelvin inspired the AUB graduate community with his ​words. He noted personal challenges that had to be overcome to pursue his education: "I did not have an experience of love, as I had no parents or any relatives, but I equally realized that my life was dependent on the generosity of total strangers." 

Kelvin also invited his classmates to reflect on their AUB experiences. "I am sure we all had exciting times that are now part of our memories. We had challenging times that shaped us to withstand the storms of life in the future. . . We learned to achieve excellence in the various fields of our endeavor, such that nobody could do it any better; to do the ordinary extraordinarily. In AUB, we have acquired the internal commitment to give back to our communities and humanity."

Looking to the future, Kelvin called on everyone present to apply the values of AUB in transforming the world outside the university gates. "We carry with us now significant cosmic values of respecting others opinion, transparency, integrity, accepting people of different races, religious background, and we carry revolutionary ideas to transform our world for a better tomorrow. . . I don’t know what destiny holds for each one of us here; but I know the happiest and most accomplished among us will be those that will search and find ways of serving others without counting, giving back to the less privileged without expecting recognition." He added, "We will make a living by receiving from others, but we will make a life by giving others. Let us today make a conscious decision to let our acquired education, skills, and experiences be a beacon of hope to humanity and those in need. . . May you all live in exciting times, find what you are looking for and discover true happiness and joy in giving back and in serving others."
To hear Kelvin's full speech, check the below video footage posted on the Food Security Program Facebook page​. To view the whole commencement cermony, visit the American University of Beirut Facebook page. Also, ​read the AUB Graduate and honorary doctorate commencement 2019: Living meaningful lives​ article on AUB website​​.


Congratulations to all our AUB graduates earning their degrees! And a special mention for our graduates from our very own Food Security Program - wishing you all the best in your future ​careers!

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