by Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Even after delivering his anticipated valedictory address to thousands of graduates on Sunday, summa cum laude Arman Ali Ghodsinia hopes to “continue the momentum” especially when it comes to addressing the ongoing crisis in Marawi City – his hometown.
“I definitely want the momentum to continue even after I give my speech on Sunday,” said 22-year-old Ghodsinia in a phone interview with The Manila Bulletin. “We have a lot of stories of hopes and such so I hope it will not end here,” he said.
A Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology candidate for graduation from the College of Science, Ghodsinia was chosen to speak on behalf of the 3,000-graduating class during the 106th General Commencement Exercises of University of the Philippines-Diliman tomorrow.
Ghodsinia is leading the roster of 36 students who will also receive the highest honors during commencement exercises. He obtained a General Weighted Average (GWA) of 1.176.
PRIDE OF MARAWI
Ghodisnia said that while many call him the “Pride of Marawi,” his mom, Mariam Alonto Ali, is the “real” pride of the Islamic City.
“Most people call me the ‘pride of Marawi’ but really it’s my mom because without her, I wouldn’t be here, my mom’s the ‘real pride’ of Marawi,” Ghodsinia said, paying tribute to the roots of her mother.
Having gone to Marawi just once – when he was still very young – Ghodsinia admitted that he doesn’t have much recollection of city. “But my mom, she remembers because she grew up there and spent most of her life there,” he shared.
Ghodsinia’s mother grew up in Lanao del Sur province before marrying his dad who is Iranian but now a naturalized Filipino. He has two older siblings, a sister who is currently studying in UP’s College of Law and a brother who helps manage the family business that is in line with home decor.
SPEECH AND ATTENTION
Ghodsinia admits that he is not used to all the media attention he has been getting since UP announced that he will deliver this school year’s valedictory speech.
“I was happy because to be given a chance to speak about such topic which was very humbling and I was really honored,” he added. “Right now, after gaining the attention of the media, it is definitely more than a speech – I want it to become some kind of hope,” he said.
His speech before his fellow graduates will last for around five to 10 minutes, he said. “I will urge them not to forget our fellow Filipino people who subsidized our education,” Ghodsinia said.
Despite better access to student mobility, Ghodsinia would like to remind his fellow graduates that “wherever we go, we should always remember to look back and come back here in the Philippines and help out.”
YEARNING FOR PEACE, HOME
Despite the ongoing crisis in Marawi, Ghodsinia remains hopeful that the armed conflict will end soon especially having relatives who are affected by the siege. “My immediate relatives are safe because they are either based in Iligan and in Metro Manila but I still have many relatives who are affected as well,” he said.
When the crisis has been resolved, Ghodsinia plans to go back to Marawi to further trace his roots. “I can’t live without going there knowing that it’s the place where my mom grew up in,” he added.
Ghodsinia also plans to address the problems the country is encountering and put emphasis on the ongoing issue in Mindanao. “In my speech, I will ask the people there not to lose hope and that they are being remembered by the Philippines and by us – Iskolars ng Bayan,” he said.
Aside from urging concerned stakeholders to resolve the Marawi crisis, Ghodsinia said that he will also push for the ultimate goal which is “not only an end to the war but for a long-term and sustainable development for the region.”
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