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Kuwaiti student Mishary Al-Rashed delivers graduates’ speech at UCLA

LOS ANGELES: Kuwaiti student Mishary Khaled Al-Rashed affirmed that although Kuwait is a small country in terms of geographical size, it is large in the ambition of its youth. This occurred in his speech at the commencement ceremony of the department of physics and astronomy at UCLA, one of the top 10 universities in the world and the number 1 public university in the United States. Rashed graduated Magna Cum Laude with the highest honor in Physics and a minor in mathematics. He was the only Kuwaiti student in the Physics department.

Rashed had opened his speech by thanking the chair professor, students, and faculty staff, and congratulating the UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy Class of 2022. “I am truly grateful for this opportunity to speak here today not only representing the people and the department that I have grown to love so much but also as a proud student from Kuwait,” he said.

Kuwaiti student Mishary Al-Rashed with UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.

“While I am proud to be a student of UCLA, I am equally proud to be representing my country Kuwait, a country small in its geographic size but large in the ambition of its younger generation,” he said in his speech. “Shoot for the stars, the sky is the limit in schools like UCLA. Choose majors that are important such as physics. Follow your heart and pursue the things you are genuinely interested in. As Ameenah Farhan, Chair of the Kuwait University Physics Department, once told me, ‘saw iely et7ba ra7 it bad3 feet’ which means do what you love and you will excel in it.”

Rashed spoke extensively about his journey at UCLA and what led him to choose physics as his major. He spoke highly of Professor David Saltzberg, professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA, who inspired him to choose this path. “[Physics] is a set of ideas that aren’t really attributed to one person but are ideas that anyone can experience — an experience that can be enjoyed by working out the equations and conducting the experiments,” he said.

Kuwaiti student Mishary Al-Rashed with his family.

“I took a leap of faith in what I believed I would enjoy and I’m happy to say it has been the best decision of my life,” he pointed out. “Not only did I get to learn about some of the most interesting ideas in the history of mankind, but I also became a part of one of the most vibrant, friendly, and inspiring communities at UCLA – the physics community.” Rashed gave a shout out to UCLA Professor Andrea Ghez who received the Nobel prize for her discovery of the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy.

“I will never forget the day the noble was announced, I walked proudly into campus… knowing that I was in the same department as her,” he said. Rashed also thanked his research advisor, “mentor, and friend Professor Zhongbo Kang for believing in me and cultivating such a welcoming environment in your group.”

Rashed also addressed the “incredible group of undergraduate students in this department,” expressing strong faith in their abilities. “My message to you all is that if you have something that you know you are passionate about, whether that’s physics or something else entirely, follow it – even if it’s challenging, no more how all of our unique challenges by being students here, especially during the pandemic,” he said. “I am proud of all of you for overcoming these challenges.”

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