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Embracing Unity in Diversity: A New Academic Chapter Begins at AIT

05 Aug 2023
AIT webmaster

By AIT Public Affairs and Albin Maskey

5 August 2023 – The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) welcomed a diverse and enthusiastic group of new students, marking the commencement of an exciting academic chapter. The Orientation was held on August 4, in a hybrid mode. 

AIT President, Prof. Kazuo Yamamoto, extended a warm welcome to all incoming students. During his address, he highlighted the importance of unity in diversity, which encourages embracing various cultures and perspectives. He emphasized the importance of mutual respect within AIT’s diverse community, affirming the institution’s unwavering commitment to its core values and mission amidst ongoing transformations. This encompasses contributions to the region and global level, addressing climate change, and achieving Sustainable Development Goals. Prof. Yamamoto called upon students to actively participate in AIT’s initiatives, including the goal of achieving a net-zero carbon emissions campus by 2030. He underscored the imperative of creating a harmonious environment free from harassment, stressing the significance of empathy and respect. He urged students to serve as ambassadors of their respective nations, fostering an all-inclusive community.

This semester, a total of 418 new students from 32 countries across Asia, North America, Europe, and Africa embarked on a transformative academic journey. These students are enrolled in regular Master’s and Ph.D. programs, special programs, flexible programs, and exchange and visiting programs from partner institutions around the world. Demonstrating AIT’s commitment to diversity and equal representation, approximately 50% of regular students are women. Among the total admissions, 41% have joined the School of Engineering and Technology (SET), 37% have joined the School of Environment, Resources, and Development (SERD), and 22% have joined the School of Management (SOM). Currently, the institute hosts over 1550 students pursuing higher education from around the globe.

Prof. Shobhakar Dhakal, AIT’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, emphasized Asia’s pivotal role in leading the 21st century, referring to it as the “Asian Century.” He outlined AIT’s mission to equip professionals with the knowledge, vision, skills, and leadership capacity to address global challenges effectively. He stressed the importance of maintaining academic excellence and ethical conduct at AIT, where students are encouraged to represent the institution with pride. Prof. Dhakal highlighted that AIT provides robust support services and fosters an inclusive learning environment, ensuring students’ success in meeting the challenges of the Asian Century. 

Dr. Roger Levermore, Vice President for Development (VPD) and Dean of the School of Management (SOM), shared his journey at AIT, emphasizing that this day marked the beginning of a lasting and transformative experience for many. He outlined plans for collaborative initiatives with governments, businesses, and NGOs, aimed at amplifying AIT’s presence and influence. Dr. Levermore stressed AIT’s unwavering commitment to sustainability, highlighting centers dedicated to projects that provide internships and research opportunities for students. He encouraged students to engage in these initiatives and address the critical imperatives of sustainability and beyond.

AIT’s Vice President of Administration, Mr. Russell Rein, emphasized the unique opportunities that await at AIT, spanning extracurricular pursuits, sports activities, and cultural festivities that contribute to a holistic and enriching student life. He urged students to make use of counseling services if needed and underlined the importance of adhering to Thai laws and cultural norms while in Thailand. Mr. Rein’s urged students to embody the acronym ‘FAT’ – symbolizing Flexibility, Adaptability, and Tolerance – to fully embrace AIT’s multicultural environment and build lasting bonds during their exhilarating journey at the institution.

During the orientation, Professor Sangam Shrestha, Dean of the School of Engineering and Technology (SET), encouraged students to explore global outreach, international networking, team leadership, and entrepreneurship skills. He assured them that while their journey at AIT might pose challenges, it would ultimately be rewarding.

Professor Abdul Salam, Dean of the School of Environment Resources and Development (SERD), highlighted the rich cultural diversity among the students and motivated them to foster lasting friendships and networks. He emphasized the value of utilizing facilities and opportunities to cultivate successful careers.

Student Representative Ms. Priya Shrestha encouraged her fellow students to embrace the vibrant community, where cherished memories are created, friendships flourish, and countless opportunities for growth await. She urged students to explore, engage, and participate in various social events and clubs to make the most of their time at AIT.

Following the senior leadership’s welcome remarks, the students received orientation on AIT’s Harassment Policy, the Office of Sustainable Campus, and the AIT Entrepreneurship Centre. Additionally, they were briefed on academic requirements and practices, the career center and student welfare, language center services, English language requirements, campus-wide IT services, and facilities management and accommodation policies by directors and staff from respective units.

Message from new students:

Harish Singh Saud, Nepal
Master’s in Transportation and Engineering

I learned about AIT through multiple channels, including social media, the institute’s official website, and various AIT roadshows. The institute’s impressive global standing, strong commitment to academic excellence, and robust research and innovation initiatives made it the obvious selection for me. My initial experience at AIT remains etched in my memory as an unforgettable chapter marking my first international experience. I experienced a mix of excitement and nervousness upon leaving my home country. However, upon arriving at AIT, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it swiftly became a second home not only for me but seemingly for all who pursue higher education here.

Quynh Thuc Ha, Vietnam
Master’s in Business Administration

Being AIT alumni himself, my father enthusiastically encouraged me to pursue my studies here, citing AIT’s renowned MBA program. Upon my arrival, I was truly taken aback by the incredible level of support extended by the AIT staff, current students, and fellow alumni.

Phway Phway Zaw Minn, Myanmar
Master’s in Environmental Engineering and Management

The pivotal factor guiding my decision to enroll at AIT was its robust reputation in my chosen field of study. I am confident that the faculty and curriculum will afford me an exceptional education. Despite my recent arrival, I have already been embraced by a sense of belonging and security. My aspiration is to craft an unforgettable and enriching university journey during my time here.

Rahma Aulia Zahra, Indonesia
Master’s in Natural Resources Management

Leveraging the DAAD Scholarship, I have found my way to this esteemed institution. Drawn by AIT’s extensive global partnerships and its commitment to excellence in education, I look forward to a gratifying experience within my chosen domain.