AIIAS held its 102nd Graduation Ceremony for 159 candidates, representing 40 countries from 12 world divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which took place at the AIIAS Auditorium on March 9-11, 2018.
Out of the 159 graduates who finished their programs, 62 came from the central campus, 87 from Distance Learning Centers, and 10 from the Division of Online Learning; 74 graduates were from the Seminary and 87 were from the Graduate School; Four were recipients of graduate certificates, 137 earned their masteral degrees, and 18 earned doctorate degrees.
Consecration speaker, Dr. Safary Wa-Mbaleka, president of the Asian Qualitative Research Association and associate professor in the Education Department inspired the graduates to depend fully on God, to accept where He sends, to walk in integrity, to love those that they serve, and to serve those that they lead.
“Shine the light of Jesus. In everything that you do, serve. Stay committed to service because that is what we’ve been teaching you...When you are committed to serve, it’s not about your ability, it is about your availability,” appealed Wa-Mbaleka.
Baccalaureate speaker, Dr. Delbert W. Baker, president of AUA in Nairobi, Kenya, encouraged the class to be a band of comforters. He reminded the class about the steps to being a comforter; God, being the source of true comfort; the reading of God’s word and being in tune with Him being the supply of true comfort; Embracing trials, learning lessons, being empathetic and sympathetic as the strategy of true comfort; and having peace in Christ as the success of true comfort.
“You’ve got to be faithful… Though things will be difficult, if you keep hanging in there, God will bless you. He is taking you through experiences so that He can develop you and teach you comfort so that you can also teach others,” stated Baker.
In her commencement address, Dr. Ella Simmons, general vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, reflected on the idea that love for God yields passion for mission and that love for neighbors yield a heart for service.
“Do not be afraid to put your God-given powers to task. Constantly press onward and upward, whatever you do, continue to ask yourself why you were called to this mission. Let your responses respond to this action for passionate mission,” challenged Simmons.
Simmons also emphasized the importance of living life without mediocrity, “God has called you to greatness. You must apply to greatness but you must aspire to greatness for the honor and Glory of God’s name. Everyone of you should make your mark.”
The class chose the theme “Passion for Mission, Heart for Service”. This theme was inspired by the essence of Christian education and the personal desire of AIIAS scholars to humbly serve Jesus Christ by carrying out His mission with passion and faithfulness.
“We were inspired not to aspire after position and comfort, but our purpose is to serve others, to be willing to be God’s instruments. We hope to hold on to that promise that despite our weaknesses and limitations, God can still use us to do great things,” remarked Joshua Dylan Antoine, a graduate of Master of Arts in Religion.
The AIIAS alumni serve as leaders all over the world both in the public and private sectors, especially in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
AIIAS is a graduate school that offers master’s and doctorate degrees in four main areas: Business, Education, Public Health, and Religion. It is operated by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.