by Ingrid Spanjers

A glimpse into the JMHPE graduation ceremony

On April 30th, the graduates from the Joint Master of Health Professions Education (JMHPE) received their certificates during a graduation ceremony. The Joint Master of Health Professions Education is an educational master for health professionals jointly organized by Suez Canal University in Ismailia, Egypt, and Maastricht University, the Netherlands. 

Our colleagues Dominique Waterval and Ingrid Spanjers attended this graduation ceremony in Ismailia, Egypt. Dominique Waterval is the Maastricht co-director of the program and Ingrid Spanjers has been a teacher in the program for eight years. Below, Ingrid shares her experience regarding the JMHPE graduation.

‘’I was excited to meet and connect with colleagues and the graduating students, especially my former mentor students. Besides, I was curious about what the university would look like. In the morning, the driver picked us up at our hotel next to a beautiful lake. We went to the university in the city itself. The university was surrounded with a beautiful, green park. The park and the hotel park were much greener than I was expecting from a country with so much desert!

At the university, the Egyptian co-director, prof. Wagdy Talaat, welcomed us with coffee, and sweet and salty snacks. We talked with him and other colleagues. We spoke longer with one of our colleagues about her application to become a FAIMER fellow, which also showed me the importance of FAIMER. 

At about noon, we went to the lecture hall for the ceremony. During the ceremony we wore gowns. I felt honored and special that I sat on the stage with the Egyptian co-director of the program and the dean of the medical faculty, especially because I am not able to attend the ceremony in Ismailia each year. It also shows the importance of guests in the Egyptian culture. Water, juice, and sweet and salty snacks were provided for us on the stage. The juice looked like orange juice but it tasted much better – afterwards, I discovered that it was guava juice. 

Family and friends of the graduates and Egyptian colleagues were already waiting in the hall. One of our Egyptian colleagues opened the ceremony. Subsequently, we happily welcomed the graduates. The graduates were wearing another gown and a cap. They entered the room from the back and walked on music to the first rows of the hall. This felt like a special moment to me. We had 17 graduates, from different countries, such as Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, and Ireland. Sixteen of them could make it to the ceremony. 

Different people, such as the co-directors, the dean of the medical faculty, a few teachers, and several students, held speeches during the ceremony. Besides, attractive videos concerning the program and Maastricht were shown. Furthermore, best student and faculty awards were handed out. I felt very honored to receive the faculty award for my work in the program. I was touched by the honest, appreciative, and humorous speech for the handing out. At the end of the ceremony, each student was individually awarded his or her certificate on the stage. 

During the ceremony, but especially afterwards, many photos were taken – many students also wanted to take photos with us. Because of these requests, I had little opportunity to talk with the students, congratulate them more personally, and wish them success. 

Together with our Egyptian colleagues, we went to a restaurant. The restaurant consisted of beautiful, large Arabic tents. This was a nice place to sit together with our Egyptian colleagues and get to know them better. One of them provided background information concerning the Egyptian food served. Besides, we talked about educational projects two colleagues were planning. It was interesting to hear more about these projects. I would have loved to have more time to chat with other colleagues to get to know with whom I am collaborating. However, time was too short to talk with all of them. 

To end this wonderful day, we had a tea party in the small but very beautiful garden of the Egyptian co-director. We tasted two types of fruit from his garden which are not very common in the Netherlands. Tasting other types of juice, fruit, and other food during the trip than we ate at home was a nice and delicious by-product of this visit. 

Many thanks to the Egyptian team for welcoming us and organizing this wonderful day for the graduates and us. We enjoyed it very much. We are very proud of our new graduates and wish them a bright future.''

Ingrid Spanjers

Dominique Waterval, Ingrid Spanjers, and Wagdy Talaat

Also read