SPP Students, Alumni, Faculty, and Staff Celebrate Start of Academic Year
More than 80 incoming and returning students, alumni, faculty, and staff gathered at SPP on September 16 to celebrate the start of the 2015-16 academic year. MPA Student Affairs Coordinator Judit Koppany welcomed everyone and introduced SPP Founding Dean Wolfgang Reinicke.
In his brief remarks, Reinicke described the start of the academic year as a “joyful moment.” He thanked SPP students for bringing with them “your ambitions, your knowledge, your practical experience, your hopes, and your dreams.” Noting that many SPP students had been involved in refugee relief efforts, Reinicke thanked them also for their compassion and dedication. He described 2015-16 as “a great year” for the School that is now home to three master’s programs, and the public policy track of the PhD program.
SPP Director of Career Services and Alumni Relations Ann Gagliardi introduced the two alumni speakers: Ashley Quisol (One-year MAPP 2013) and Luis Cano (MPA 2015). Reflecting on her time as a student at CEU, Quisol said that CEU “has a lot to offer” and urged incoming students to take advantage of these resources. She urged them also to look for ways “to give back your skills, and your time.” Cano spoke movingly about the enduring impact of his time at SPP. He said that it was because of what they had learned at SPP that he and his classmates were able to engage in passionate debates about hotly contested issues in “a respectful way.” Cano went on to note that this respect for different opinions was “part of the culture of CEU and of SPP.”
Quisol and Cano invited everyone to an informal gathering that public policy alumni have organized on September 19 beginning at 5:00 pm at Anker Klub.
The highlight of the evening was a performance by incoming one-year MAPP student Nilofer Khan Habibullah. Addressing members of the SPP community, she explained that she had written the poem that she was about to perform just a month ago, and that it was “dedicated to you.” In a powerful and moving performance Habibullah urged her classmates to “’leave judgments at your door-step” and “bring a mind that absorbs like a sponge, eyes that observe like a hawk, and a heart with plenty of room for acceptance of a world that stretches ahead of us so broad.” She went on to describe some of what students would encounter “during our journey.” You can read the full text of Habibullah’s poem here and watch her performance below.