Delivering a speech in front of students, who graduated or are about to graduate in the near future is an honour for everyone. You, as a single individuum, get the chance to influence the worldview of so many with your speech on this special day, as I got influenced by the speech given during my Bachelor’s graduation ceremony. I wanted to reach out to the people and plea on their ability to change the world, so I created a 4.5-minute speech, as I was asked for.
Now, school regulations changed and my total speaking time had been limited to around 1 minute, I had to make some reductions. I am not mad, but I don’t want my moral suasion to be lost without telling anyone. Thus, I present to you in full lengths:
My Graduation Speech!
Dear Ladies and Gentleman, director, deans, professors, fellow students, all the beloved ones, who are here to attend this graduation ceremony with us!
I am honoured to stand here in front of you to represent the ambitious students of the Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology. Looking into the crowd of graduates and those, who are going to graduate in near future, I can see that our Alma Mater at Nantai Street hosts multiple highly encouraged, smart and knowledgeable students, who are able to master every course and exam during their academic journey.
Yet, the time spent here at Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology provides more than grades and degrees. With the words of ancient Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca “You don’t learn for school, but for life you learn.”
We gained the necessary skills in courses to succeed in different fields of Management, Engineering, Art and Science. But we also learned what is important to live in a community. We learned to respect each other.
We learned how to excel in difficult tasks in groups. We learned to trust each other.
We learned that collaboration with people from different social or cultural background broadens the personal horizon and with it, mutual understanding and empathy. We learned to love each other.
And for me the most important one: We learned to look into the future, together, open minded, to cause a change.
Observing daily news around the world, one might say that our society and humankind is in slow decay. Wars around the globe are raging or are at the edge of breaking out. Terrorist attacks cause us to mistrust everyone different, to withdraw from joy and live in fear. Nationalist right wing movements gain power by exploiting this fear and turn it into a policy of humanitarian stagnation. Powerful leaders fall 10 steps back in the progress of creating a fair, healthy world due to a myopic worldview and ignorance towards scientific facts.
The diversity of this university, hosting students from various nations, teach them to be critical and let them exchange ideas and visions, leads to an open-mindedness we, the citizens of this only world we have, need the most.
You are the researchers, exploring new ways to help scientists in making progress in various fields, to help millions of people in fighting deadly diseases, to help the planet in developing methods to stop or reduce water, air and ground pollution.
You are the engineers, creating the future in making processes more efficient, in making life easier, in inventing new ground-breaking technologies in medicine, manufacturing, communication and more.
You are the business managers, able to create fair conditions for workers, to establish innovative new companies providing services where demand is not satisfied yet, to enable an environmentally friendly change by focusing on renewable energies.
You are the students of this great university, you are the students of life. You are the world leaders of this generation, everyone in his or her specific field. So don’t let this degree of the Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology be the goal you want to reach. Rather see it as a reminder that there is still a long hard way to go in the future; infinite lessons that had to be learned. And you did one great step in the right direction.
Ending with the words of the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tse: “Learning is like rowing against the current. When you stop, you will float back”. I wish you all the best for your future journey of life-long learning.
Thank you, XieXie!