Kathmandu University conferred Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (D. Litt.) to Hon’ble Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India, in a Special Convocation Ceremony held in Kathmandu on Thursday, 3 November 2016.
The Prime Minister and Chancellor Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ conferred the degree to Shri Mukherjee in recognition of the latter’s ‘outstanding contributions in public service, regional cooperation and international relations’.
In his Acceptance Speech, Shri Mukherjee heartily appreciated the efforts made by the leaders of Kathmandu University to achieve the leading roles in national and international community in the very short span of time after its establishment. He said that the honorary degree conferred on him has inspired him to further dedicate his life for the service of human kind. Appreciating the efforts taken by KU on its innovation, research and development, the President said, ‘I hope the graduates of the Kathmandu University will dedicate themselves in innovation which is only way out for the development and prosperity of the nation’.
In his concluding remarks, Prime Minister and Chancellor Pushpa Kamal Dahal expressed gratitude to Shri Mukherjee for accepting the Honorable Degree of Doctor of Letters (D. Litt.) from Kathmandu University. The Chancellor admired Shri Mukherjee as a towering personality of South Asia. He further said, ‘We believe that your experience, knowledge and wisdom of thoughts have inspired us to understand the meaning of life and also help us to live with meaningful life’. He further said ‘it is indeed a matter of pride for the people of Nepal and the Kathmandu University itself’.
The Chancellor also admired Shri Mukherjee’s versatile identity recalling his past professional career as a university teacher, journalist, banker, and politician and now as the statesman of India.
Welcoming the guest of honor and the distinguished guests in the ceremony, Prof. Dr. Ram Kantha Makaju Shrestha, the Vice Chancellor of Kathmandu University, explained the core values of education as essential for ‘carving the stone to prepare an angel, providing ability to critically analyze contexts, and putting skills necessary to steer the direction of one’s life’.
He also highlighted three key points for improving the status of higher education institutions in South Asia:
- Redefining the identity and role of universities: educational institutions should strive to be implementers of the knowledge that they generate. Initiation should be taking the classroom from the campus to the community.
- Commitment to access, equity, quality and excellence in education: the universities should be the laboratories of a nation with the motto of education as not to create distance between people in the society or leave a group behind.
- Innovation in forging institutional collaboration: collaborative efforts should be fueled through innovation. The solutions to the problems are best found in the places where the problems lie. The strongest ties between two countries should be based not in the papers or treaties but in the hearts and the minds of the people.
The Vice Chancellor Dr. Makaju concluded that history is not made by critics but by those who take actions with full knowledge that there is every risk and likelihood of failure ahead.
Minister for Education and Pro Chancellor Dhaniram Poudel recited the lines of the Award Certificate. Prof. Dr. Bhola Thapa, the Registrar of Kathmandu University, conducted the formal ceremony.
Prior to the Special Convocation Ceremony, the Kathmandu University Senate approved the proposal of awarding Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (D. Litt.) to Hon’ble President Shri Pranab Mukherjee as recommended by the Academic Council.
Shri Mukherjee is the third recipient of the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (D. Litt.) from Kathmandu University in its 25th years of establishment. The first Special Convocation was conferred to honor author Mr. Satya Mohan Joshi (Nepal) in 2011. The second honor was conferred to distinguished author and statesman Dr. Karan Singh (India) in 2011. As per the Kathmandu University Act 1991, the Academic Council recommends the name of the dignitaries in their extraordinary contribution in various fields and the Kathmandu University Senate awards the degree organizing a Special Convocation Ceremony.
Kathmandu University, an autonomous, not-for-profit, non-government institution dedicated to maintain standard of academic excellence, was established by the Kathmandu University Act 1991. It is committed to develop leaders in professional areas through quality education.
Within a period of 25 years, the University has built not only reasonable infrastructure, but also established a track record of academic excellence. At present, the University offers more than 135 programs in undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels in Science, Engineering, Arts, Education, Management, Law and Medical Sciences. Currently, there are 16000 students in seven constituent and 16 affiliated colleges. Around ten percent students are international students representing almost all continents across the globe including South Asia. In 2012, there were 1081 international students representing 39 different countries. Many of the offered courses are community-centric, which is one of the unique features of the University.