Graduation Speech on Tolerance and Diversity





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Published on Mar 18, 2011


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So I think we are here today, not only to celebrate our achievement for winning a PhD, but also to sustain an example of the possible success of world class school which holds the spirit of professionalism and equality. Here, we're showing to break free the tiring debate about race, religion, ethnicity and gender that dominates our politics and newspaper in the last decade.

I'm coming from a third world country called Indonesia. I was born in a small village, which was no electricity and running clean water; more than half of the people in the village earn less than 1 euro per day. My parents are only medium class civil servants, who never even dared to dream sending their son to study abroad. It's finally Professor Wolfgang Obenaus who convinced me to come to this prestigious university, in the heart of Europe, using the scholarship from the Austrian government for third world countries.

I am also glad that finally I am allowed to wear 'Batik', our traditional clothes today, as I always believe that the graduation committee will embrace diversity. Because they also hold the value of our university, that the single most important factor determining people achievement is not the color of their skin, the religion of their life, it is not who their parents are, or how much money they have. I believe the promise of the education system here. No matter how we look like, whatever our nationality is, or our religion, each of us, should have the chance to achieve our dream, to enjoy the same opportunity.

Dear fellow graduates,
We know that we're living in a global era. It's the time where people in Vienna are also competing with people in Shanghai or Mumbai, India. Jobs can be located anywhere in this planet. It's finally our skill and knowledge that become our global passport. The most valuable things you can sell are skill and knowledge.
Living in this globalization era should make us aware that we are breathing in the same global village. In this village, every belief and value can be found. Insignificant differences can spark into conflict, chaos even war. But I'm sure that everybody in this room won't let this happen. Because, despite these differences, we share the same hope, same belief that we are connected together as brother and sister from the past.

Driven by this belief, I am also calling on you to be an agent of transformation, who always seeks to make this world a better place to live, a safer place for diversity; as being shown by the great transformation of this university.

Within these few weeks I am flying back to Indonesia...I'm a Moslem and I will speak loud and clear to the people in my country that I am proud to be part of this great European education institution; where I do not learn about business and economics, but also about tolerance and respecting each other.

Sooner or later you will also make your own journey. For some of you, the journey ahead will not be easy. But the truth is that none of us knows how the future will look like. What I can tell you for sure is that the future is not someplace we will discover, but rather something we will create.

I believe that we can survive anywhere in this world, because we are the graduates of WU. We were trained by global-minded faculties which hold the spirit of professionalism and tolerance.
Today, we are all proud to receive our doctorate certificate, a reward for our effort that we will treasure for the rest of our life.

But as a famous saying says: the greatest treasures are not those visible to the eye but found by the heart. Knowledge and happiness are the true treasure for a wise man; indeed, tolerance is the real treasure for humanity.

It is my sincere hope that your next journey will take you to the summit of your hope, to the highest peak of your happiness, to the ultimate blessing for humanity.

Again congratulation, have a pleasant journey, and may God always be with us.

Thank you


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