I wish to thank and to congratulate all our community members for advancing The American University in Cairo through another year of historic accomplishment. This year, we launched another record crop of creative, ambitious, entrepreneurial graduates on their lives of continuing intellectual exploration, careers and service to family and their nations.
Together, we have strengthened our University by many measures, successfully weathering institutional and national economic challenges — including sustaining the academic progress of all our students in good standing, regardless of individual financial need.
We have introduced transformative management and service innovations, including new digital tools, operational reforms and academic ventures. New institutional and individual partners joined us as we launched new programs and hosted national and global conferences on educational development and innovation. Especially dear to my own heart, the first American and international students have returned home, after years of exile outside of Egypt, to AUC's Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA), celebrating CASA 's Golden Anniversary as the world's premier Arabic language immersion program. We have also developed a fresh, actionable centennial strategic plan for publication early in the new calendar year.
In all these accomplishments, most gratifying has been the increasing participation and contributions of all elements of our community.
Our momentum of 2017 will propel a strong start on yet more ambitious advances in the new year. 2018 holds great promise, beginning with auspicious events in its first weeks. These include: bringing international thought leaders to campus and back to Egypt; resuming the annual winter meetings in Cairo of our Board of Trustees; and launching another 600 graduates on their life journeys as AUC alumni.
In tomorrow 's especially unpredictable regional and global environment, AUC's past advancement offer no grounds for complacency, but they do offer a firm foundation for embracing 2018 with both confidence and ambition.
I wish all members of the AUC community a restful and cheerful holiday, and a happy, bright new year.