In June 2010, the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina celebrated their inaugural graduating class of 18 students who received SUNY Canton degrees.
“As all of you surely know, Bosnia Herzegovina is dear to my heart.” Former President Bill Clinton said in a video address to the 2010 AUBiH graduating class. “Although I couldn’t be there to wish you well in person, I’m honored to be able to send this special message to the 2010 graduates, the first ever generation of students who studied at the American university of Bosnia Herzegovina to receive an American diploma. This remarkable achievement is something that you can be proud of. I congratulate the founders of this university and their partners at the State University of New York for this profoundly important initiative.”
The former president levied a challenge to graduates, telling them that they were the generation that will lead Bosnia and Herzegovina into Europe and help to make dreams of their compatriots come true.
The southeastern European nation has struggled economically since the Bosnian War. Top officials are partially looking toward higher education as means to create a contingent of entrepreneurs and other leaders who will help continue to rebuild the nation.
The students earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from SUNY Canton and a degree from their home university. They accomplished some of their course requirements through live video relayed classes and online courses broadcast and maintained by SUNY Canton faculty members under the guidance of College President Joseph L. Kennedy. Kennedy and top-level college staff attended AUBiH’s first commencement ceremony to recognize the College’s alumni.
“What makes our relationship with the American University in Bosnia Herzegovina so unique is they quite literally would not exist without SUNY Canton,” Kennedy said. “This is a completely new College that has become extension of us and all that we do well. We offer a career driven education where it’s needed most to those who will use it the best.”
Students take about 70 percent of their courses from professors at AUBiH and 30 percent from SUNY Canton faculty members. “Every course is our course, every student is our student,” Kennedy said. “The entire curriculum was developed at SUNY Canton.”
College officials from both universities have noted that the relationship is innovative because the European students have access to an American education from their home university. Students can also opt to attend a five-week summer program and be immersed in American culture in Canton. Currently, the 2011 class is attending their summer semester at the College.
Associate Professor Charles R. Fenner, Ph.D. is one of the lead faculty members to work with the classes from Bosnia. He said the students gain exposure to multiple viewpoints on business and finance issues, with examples of intellectual property and business management concepts. “The Bosnian students debate topical contemporary American issues as they pertain to their studies,” Fenner said. “They’ll discuss current events and discuss subjects including steroid use in sports, confidentiality issues, and whether health care should be universal or private.”
Dubravko Martinović, one of the top graduates at AUBIH, addressed his classmates, via live video feed at SUNY Canton’s Commencement. “To be the first at something gives one great satisfaction, and we are proud to be the first generation of graduates from AUBIH,” he said. “I want to thank you for four memorable years, and an unforgettable semester spent at SUNY (Canton). For us, it was never just an education, it was a life experience.”
SUNY Canton has articulation agreements allowing dual degrees with a half-dozen universities overseas, and several colleges in the United States. It was the first SUNY College to link with Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia. Most recently, College officials began creating a dual-degree program with the American University in the Emirates.
To view Clinton’s entire address to the AUBiH graduates, visit http://aubih.edu.ba/en/news/news.php?ano=119.
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