GU-Q New Student Convocation 2017


(processional music) – Good afternoon. Would you please stand and remain standing for the national anthem of
Qatar and the United States of America, after which
Dr. Akhan Akhanadi, professor at the Georgetown
University in Qatar, will introduce the opening prayers. Thank you. (“Al-Salam Al-Amiri” playing) (“The Star Spangled Banner” playing) (applause) – It is our custom to begin and end our convocations with prayer. At the beginning, we invoke God’s presence to come with your grace and heavenly heat, to fill the hearts which you have made. At the end, we will
ask for God’s blessing, as we go forth to do his will. Georgetown University is
grounded in the belief that spiritual development is
essential to personal growth. St. Ingatius placed prayer and reflection at the center of Jesuit life. Today, Georgetown celebrates
this long tradition by providing pastoral
care and opportunities for worship, reflection,
and service to members of the community, across
a diversity of faiths. This tradition sets us apart
from other universities. We have interfaith and
Muslim prayer rooms at SFSQ, so we ensure we carry on the legacy of this unique tradition. Today, we begin the convocation
with an Islamic prayer, and a Christian prayer. Usman Kamar, class of 2020,
will offer an Islamic prayer. Usman. (praying in Arabic) – Richard June, class of 2020, will now offer a Christian prayer. – Oh, mighty God, we thank
you for bringing us together on this special day,
and we ask you to bestow your blessing upon these
young women and men, as they are matriculated
into Georgetown University. May they always seek to
honor and glorify you, rather than themselves. May they be concerned
for the need of others, as for their own needs. May they always strive to live the ideals that they have been taught, and may they be ever mindful
of the responsibility to use their abilities to
enrich the lives of others and to preserve the beauty of this world that you have so wondrously made. Eternal God, the source of
all goodness, discipline, and knowledge, bless our university in its quest for excellence. Awaken teachers and students everywhere to the unending search
for truth and justice, and enable all who discern
truth to make the wholeness of humankind their life’s goal. Amen. – Please be seated. Members of the faculty and
staff of the Georgetown University School of
Foreign Service in Qatar, members of the School of
Foreign Service in Qatar, class of 2021, parents and friends, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the convocation
of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service
in Qatar, class of 2021. My name is Jim Reardon Anderson, and I am dean of the School
of Foreign Service in Qatar. A convocation is a ritual,
and like all rituals reminds us of the depths
we owe to our predecessors, and the commitments we make
to those who follow us. This convocation, that is
to say your convocation, underlines this great
tradition of higher learning and of the university of
which we are all a part. In this new student
convocation, we will recognize the ideals of Georgetown University and repeat the rituals for
bringing our newest members, the class of 2021, into
our community of learners. Today is your day, as the newest members of the Georgetown University
School of Foreign Service in Qatar, and we are delighted
to share it with you. I now have the pleasure of introducing Dr. Amira Al Zane, newly minted professor at Georgetown University in Qatar, who will welcome you on
behalf of the faculty. Dr. Al Zane. (applause) – Dean Reardon Anderson, colleagues, family members, guests,
and most importantly, the class of 2021, it’s truly an honor to address you today on
behalf of my colleagues. Dear students, you are here today because you won a difficult challenge. That of being accepted
at Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service in Qatar. A world-class school. So you should be proud of yourselves. Beginning a college career
is always a thrilling time. It is a starting point of
a new chapter in your life, and I know you are eager to embark on your trip for knowledge. I can’t praise enough Georgetown. Maybe because it’s my alma
mater; I might be biased. But the truth is that my
attachment to it grows year after year, and you
will feel the same way soon. You will become a Hoya in
the Hoya family for life. Many of our alumni often
come back either to work here or simply to visit friends,
administrators, and faculty. Which means we will continue to see you, even after your graduation. But why should you come back? There is a special relation at our campus between students and faculty. Our small sized classes
enable a fruitful dialog between students and faculty. Each professor can pay
attention to each of you, and follow closely your progress. The small sized classes
generate, also, a fluid and seamless relation between
you and your colleagues. These conditions bring
about a peaceful and relaxed environment that nourishes
the process of learning. But don’t believe it’s a picnic. You have to work very hard
to earn your graduation from Georgetown. My first advice to you is not to start your intellectual journey
with preconceptions. Learning involves
listening to your teachers and your colleagues. Take heed of the different
ideas that circulate in the classroom and outside of it. Discuss new ones with your
professors and colleagues, who come from different
parts of the world. Knowledge streams and
thrives through change, while being uncompromising
hinders your access to learning. Embrace a variety of opinions, approaches, and disciplines that will
enrich your intellectual lives. This is the goal of a
liberal studies program, such as Georgetown. Knowledge is never to be
found in one discipline, but rather at the intersection of many. Before picking out a major,
make sure to be exposed to a whole bunch of new
theories and new topics. Go for the unfamiliar. It’s the chance of your
lives, so grasp it. Second: bear in mind
that learning is never limited to the classroom. Sometimes the best ideas
come during a conversation with one of your professors
outside the classroom, or from an argument with
a colleague during lunch. Moreover, there are a
lot of students’ clubs and activities, so be engaged
in one or more of them. Try to be part of an
organized trip to a country you know nothing about. Third: don’t be afraid of
presenting a new approach in a discussion. On the contrary, be
passionate about your choices. Activate your imagination. As author Jean Jacques-Custeau
once wrote, quote: the world of reality has its limits. The world of imagination is boundless. Unquote. So dare to imagine things no one before you has ever imagined. Four: keep in mind that
learning is a relationship between mentor and student in
which the giver of knowledge and its recipient exchange roles. Because we too, the
faculty, learn from you. In fact, to be human is to realize that you are a lifelong learner. Last but not least, remind
yourselves that you are very privileged to be
here, because many your age around the world are not
given the opportunity to attend the best colleges,
let alone to continue their education or even to attend school. Just think of the millions of
refugees who roam the world to find a safe haven,
running away from wars, poverty, famine, natural disaster, and natural disaster, to name just a few. We anticipate that
during these four years, you will learn how to make
the world a better place, through passing on what
you have learned to others, and helping them in their difficult lives. This is the Jesuit ideal of Georgetown, where education and
compassion are intertwined. In a few decades from now,
countries of the world will be governed by today’s youth. Their thoughts and actions will
be shaped by what they know and have experienced, making
education, in many ways, one of the best predictors
of a nation’s future success. We expect that you will be among those who share the future of our countries. You prosper and flourish as a human being through helping others. What you will learn in these
four years will not give its fruit unless you
understand that your life not only belongs to
you, but also to others. Once again welcome, from the heart, to Georgetown School of
Foreign Service in Qatar. Thank you very much and good luck. (applause) I now have the honor of
introducing Omar Al Khatib, class of 2018, who will
welcome you on behalf of the students of The School
of Foreign Service in Qatar. (applause) – Hello. Before I begin my speech,
I’d like to thank you, the class of 2021, for making
this NSO one of the best I’ve witnessed; I’ve had the
pleasure of participating in two previous NSOs and had the honor of coordinating this one,
along with Naya Brunna, whose efforts and work over the course of this NSO were incredibly valuable. And I’m very grateful for her help over the last three months. I’d also like to thank all
of the orientation advisors, whose help was critical
to the way NSO ran. Honestly, Naya and I could have sat there and planned weeks upon weeks
of activities and sessions, but without our amazing and
super-lovely OA’s and students, all of our efforts
would have been useless. So once again, thank you
all for making this NSO one of the best that I’ve been a part of. Now, be prepared to listen to some of the advice that I wish that I was given when I was in your
position, four years ago. You are all now students
of Georgetown University. You’ve officially moved on
from being high school students to being college students,
and you’re probably terrified. And maybe correctly so. That’s completely
understandable and expected. It’s cheesy, but when I was in your spot, walking, ah, I was in your spot, too, walking into campus where I knew no one. I was incredibly anti-social,
and as many of my friends will testify, I was unapproachable and probably a little bit mean. And PS, I apologize to all
of you who really tried with me and got unwarranted treatment. It’s not your fault. But it’s normal, it’s all normal. And that’s changed now. I’m still introverted, but I’ve become more comfortable and sociable. See, it’s the fact that I
intentionally placed myself in situations that would
challenge my comfort levels and test my character that made me the person that I am today. This doesn’t come without its fair share of stress and anxiety. And I won’t pretend that it’s easy. It’s incredibly difficult,
but it’s also equally incredibly worthwhile. It may not always feel that way, but know that it is worthwhile. Nonetheless, always move forward. No matter how reluctant you
are, always move forward. New experiences are
not always comfortable. They’re usually the complete opposite. You will be scared, you will
feel different at first, as if you were the only
confused and scared one, in a sea of confident people
who know what they’re doing. One thing that I can promise you, though, and I say this with absolute confidence: deep down, even though we
upperclassmen may look confident, I can promise you we’re all
just as scared as you are, and some of us will be
scared until we graduate. And probably after. Nonetheless, always move forward. No matter how scared you
are, always move forward. Another thing you will
inevitably encounter is failure. You will fail. The quicker you are okay with that, the quicker you can learn to deal with it. There will be a number of
times where you will get an awful grade on a paper
that you will have worked tirelessly for, times where
you will bomb a final, or even fail a class altogether. And understand one thing:
there is not a student that I know of that
hasn’t been through that. So nonetheless, always move forward. No matter how much you
fail, always move forward. I’ve always enjoyed writing. Throughout high school,
even though writing was not stressed on in class, writing
became an escape for me. I trained myself to become a better writer in order to become better at
what I loved: creative writing. Up until freshman year, I’d considered myself to be a good writer. Well, that perspective
was changed drastically. And during the fall semester
of my freshman year, I became acutely aware of the difference between creative writing
and academic writing, and because of that, and
because I’d essentially become specialized in creative writing, and because my high school
hadn’t really stressed on the importance of academic writing, I’d lacked that skill. Needless to say I suffered for
a while and so did my grades. However, I made it a
point to actively work on writing better academic papers. I made sure to ask every
one of my professors for tips on how to write
better, and I bothered a number of people in the writing
center for help on my papers. By the time the spring
semester rolled around, the grades that I’d received on papers went from C-pluses to A’s and A-minuses. If I hadn’t struggled and
failed in that fall semester, I wouldn’t have actively made an effort to address my writing. Now I can churn out papers with a lot more ease than I could my freshman year. And you don’t have to go
through this process alone. One thing you’ll realize
over your four years here is that everyone is ready
and available to ensure your success here at Georgetown. So don’t be afraid to
talk to your professors, your tutors, your fellow peers. The Georgetown family isn’t just a line that we like to use
because it sounds nice. It’s because it reflects the true nature of what it’s like to be a Hoya. My last and probably most
important piece of advice is this: enjoy it. These four years have the
potential to be the best four years of your life. Yes, there will be unpleasant
times when you’re panicking about a 25-page paper that
you’re only halfway through with a deadline creeping up in an hour. Yes, there will be times
where you will have to cram six weeks worth of
material in a day or two. But there will also be times
when you’re on the floor, hallucinating at three AM,
laughing until your abs are sore, after being severely sleep deprived. As weird as that sounds,
every Georgetown student has done that at some point,
or at least I hope they have. Enjoy the coffee runs, enjoy
the jam sessions in the car, enjoy the friendships that
you’ll make here in Georgetown. I wish you nothing but
the best, good luck, welcome to Georgetown,
welcome to the Hoya family. And Hoya Saxa. (applause) – Thank you, Omar. Students in the class
of 2021 join a long line of men and women who, for
more than two centuries, have become sons and daughters
of Georgetown University. The most reverent John Carrol,
the first Catholic bishop of the United States, took
formal possession of the land on which Georgetown stands in 1789, and it is this date that we observe as the founding date of our university. However, it was not until
1814, with the enrollment passing 100, that
Georgetown’s then-president, Reverend John Grassey
of the Society of Jesus, asked our first student, William Gaston, who by then had become a
North Carolina congressman, to introduce a petition into
Congress for a federal charter establishing the university. It is our custom to mark all
academic ceremonies with a reading of that charter, which
is our founding document. Dr. Ann Kneeble, senior assistant dean and director of academic services, will read the university charter. Dr. Kneeble. (applause) – An act concerning the
College of Georgetown, in the District of Columbia. Be it enacted by the Senate and
the House of Representatives of the United States of
America, in Congress assembled, that it shall and may be
lawful for such persons as now are, or from time to time may be, the president and directors
of the College of Georgetown, within the District of
Columbia, to admit any of the students belonging to said college, or other persons meriting
academical honors, to any degree in the
faculties, arts, sciences, and liberal professions to which persons are usually admitted in other colleges or universities of the United States. And to issue, in an appropriate form, the diplomas or certificates
which may be requisite to testify to the
admission of such degrees. Signed: Langdon Cheves, Speaker of the House of Representatives. John Gallard, President
Pro Tempore of the Senate. Approved March first, 1815, James Madison, President of the United States. Joseph Hernandez, director of admissions at Georgetown University Qatar, will now present the members
of the class of 2021. (applause) – We come now to the
heart of today’s ceremony. The presentation and
robing of the new students. Students, when your name
is read, please rise and remain standing
through the honor pledge, robing, and singing of the alma mater. Audience, please hold your applause until all names have been read. Talal Abdul Nassir. Haya Abdur Rhakman. Ismail Abdur Rhakman. Sara Abdul Salim. Soha Abu Hullah. Achmed Abu Zachra. Saud Al Achmed. Aljazzi Al Advar. Shauk Al Badr. Nuir Al Dervesti. Fatma Al Amadi. Fatma Al Ismail. Amna Al Esa. Nassir Al Hail. Fatma Al Hashmi. Shanma Al Hetmi. Dina Al Jafari. Miriam Al Jafari. Nufth Al Jafari. Monida Al Kubezi. Hessa Al Kubezi. Maha Al Madid. Abdullah Al Malki. Jassim Al Monsuri. Miriam Al Murhi. Nufth Al Mazruhi. Mohammed Ahmetfa. Rada Al Mohanadi. Hessa Al Mohanadi. Ali Al Mohezza. Rabia Al Mullah. Sara Al Mullah. Fatma Al Naimi. Rhoda Al Niama. Amna Al Shahwuani. Valia Al Sulati. Hend Al Sulati. Bethina Al Thani. Hamad Al Thani. Sheikha Mohammed Al Thani. Sheikha Hamad Al Thani. Mustaffi Achmed. Venus Bahari. Massa Barakat. Shaima Bin Khermi. Hwaj Bisharra. Quan Han Chen. Kemra Chorn. Su Jin Choi. Donna Darwish. Abadda Diab. Enji Efhat. Bafina Al Heshen. Malak Al Mahk. Nurhan Al Nakhalah. Fatma Farukhi. Burakli Kuvajishvili. Su Xiong Han. Luai Hamad. Saad Ichbal. Yasmin Kahla. Shen Young Kim. Sara Liedetoft. Hanza Maria. Jiba Mohammed Nohr. Misha Al Mufta. Ngoc Nguyen. Harline Ossahin. Claudio Pergolizzi. Adam Polacko. Irene Permode. Abdur Rakhman Kaium. Hulud Saadi. Mona Saef. Amna Salat. Jonah Salmakunar. Fizza Shabir. Fizza Shahizad. Midassa Rhazashakir. Natasha Vincent. Dean Reardon Anderson, I
have the distinct pleasure to present to you the newest members of Georgetown University’s
School of Foreign Service. (applause) – Thank you, Joe. Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2021, I am delighted to welcome
you to the community of learners at Georgetown University. As members of this community,
we commit ourselves to be truthful in all that
we say and all that we write, and at Georgetown, we
invite all incoming students to express this commitment
by reciting the honor pledge. The honor pledge will
be led by Alisha Kamran, class of 2018, and student
chair of the Honor Council. Alisha. (applause) – Choosing to attend
Georgetown entails joining a distinct culture, centered
on the values of honor, commitment, community,
and academic integrity. These ideals highlighted
in the honor pledge, form an essential part of
our Georgetown education. You will find the words
to the honor pledge in the centerfold of your programs. Students, please repeat each phrase of the honor pledge after me. In the pursuit of the high ideals. – [Students] In the
pursuit of the high ideals. – And rigorous standards of academic life. – [Students] And rigorous
standards of academic life. – I commit myself. – [Students] I commit myself. – To respect and uphold. – [Students] To respect and uphold. – The Georgetown University honor system. – [Students] The Georgetown
University honor system. – To be honest in any academic endeavor. – [Students] To be honest
in any academic endeavor. – And to conduct myself honorably. – [Students] And to
conduct myself honorably. – As a responsible member
of the Georgetown community. – [Students] As a responsible member of the Georgetown community. – As we live and work together. – [Students] As we live and work together. (applause) – Thank you, Alisha. Members of the class of
2021, now that you have taken the honor pledge, I invite
you to become partners with us in the ancient and
honorable community of scholars. The faculty you see before
you wear the splendid robes that mark them as members
of our academic community. The wearing of the robes,
made of heavy wool, protected the scholars of medieval Europe against the pervasive chill
of unheated academic halls. Today, in Doha, we do not
exactly need this protection. Still, the practice of wearing
academic regalia reminds us of our roots to a vulnerable
community that embraces a commitment to honesty
and integrity in all we do. The robe you carry over your
arm is the bachelor’s gown. When you don that gown, you become a part of this community and
signify thereby your pledge to pursue its highest
ideals: the search for truth and the service to your community, your country, and the world. Ladies and gentlemen,
please don your garb. (instrumental music) Fellow faculty, deans,
staff, parents and friends, please join me in welcoming
the newest members of the Georgetown University community. (applause) Now, will everyone please rise
and join Mr. Uday Rossario and Dr. Brendan Hill in singing
the Georgetown alma mater. You will find the words
and music in your program, in the centerfold. (muttering) ♪ Hail, oh Georgetown, Alma Mater, ♪ ♪ Swift Potomac’s lovely daughter, ♪ ♪ Ever watching by the water, ♪ ♪ Smiles on us today. ♪ ♪ Now her children gather ’round her, ♪ ♪ Lo, with garlands
they have crowned her, ♪ ♪ Reverent hands and fond enwound her, ♪ ♪ With the Blue and Gray. ♪ ♪ Wave her colors ever, ♪ ♪ Furl her standards never, ♪ ♪ But raise it high, ♪ ♪ And proudly cry, ♪ ♪ May Georgetown live forever. ♪ ♪ Where Potomac’s tide is streaming, ♪ ♪ From her spires and steeples beaming, ♪ ♪ See the grand old banner gleaming: ♪ ♪ Georgetown’s Blue and Gray. ♪ (applause) – The test of true quality
singing is if you can carry the tune with me singing
behind you. (laughing) And they did a splendid job. Please be seated. It is now my pleasure to
bring to the newest members of our community a message via video from Dr. John J. DeGioia, president
of Georgetown University. Dr. DeGioia is a graduate
of Georgetown College, class of 1979, and holds
the doctor of philosophy from the Georgetown Philosophy Department. (bell tolling) – On behalf of our entire
university community, it is my privilege to welcome
you to Georgetown University. We come together today across
more than 11,000 kilometers, seven time zones, two
continents, and one ocean, to celebrate your entrance into this very special community that we share. Ours is a community
animated by a tradition. This tradition is deeply
rooted in our Catholic and Jesuit identity, and in the teachings of the founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius of Loyola. St. Ignatius and the early Jesuits, almost five centuries ago,
provided the foundation for our way of life, our way of proceeding here at Georgetown. This way of life that each of us share as members of this community,
is characterized by values that bind us together, a
commitment to academic excellence, to the pursuit of
knowledge through dialog, to think, to a life of contemplation, and to serving each
other, our communities, and our global family. These are values that
we hope will come alive during your time with us. We are excited for the
time ahead as you embark on this new journey, a
journey in which you will engage with diverse,
often challenging ideas and viewpoints, and will deepen your own self-understanding, and your understanding of how best to contribute,
to impact our world. We all share in the
extraordinary privilege of membership in our Georgetown community. With this privilege also
comes responsibility in how we care for one
another and for our world. Our world is faced with urgent challenges, and how we think about our
relationship to our environment, to our assumptions about
growth in our economies, from fostering
inter-religious understanding, to addressing the sources of violence and unrest around the globe. We have the opportunity,
within the context of our Georgetown community,
to confront these challenges. Universities are uniquely
positioned to act as conveners of discourse. To provide a context
for deeper understanding and greater civility
among peoples of disparate experiences, cultures, and faiths. And in our university community, we draw on a strong tradition of fostering intercultural and
inter-religious understanding. We are deeply committed
to promoting dialog and an open exchange of ideas. Because we believe this
is the best way to achieve a deeper understanding of
one another and of our world. These values bridge the
physical distance between us. In our tradition, we have
the resources to build bridges of compassion,
understanding, and peace. Not only between Washington and Doha, but among all members
of our global family, especially those who are most in need, who are marginalized, who are displaced, those whose lives are
impacted and disrupted by violence, war, and disease. The deepest commitment we
have within our tradition is the belief that by seeking
the very best in one another, we’ll find the very best in ourselves. You represent the very
best hope for our world. We are proud to call you
daughters and sons of Georgetown. And we look forward to joining you on your extraordinary journey ahead. Welcome to Georgetown. (applause) – Well, it says here I’m supposed to talk. So let me give you a message. Now that I see you’re
all Georgetown students, I am prepared to reveal to you the three secrets of Georgetown. The first secret is the
answer to the question that you’ve been asking yourself
since we all came in here. That is to say, you look at
this and you said to yourselves: where did they get that crowd? Did you ever see a more forbidding, ugly, angry group of people than the
faculty you’re about to join? And you’re asking yourself:
how did they get that way? And my answer to you is: respect
us, because we earned it. We practice it. I go home every weekend and
practice slamming the door, so that a student who comes
to see me will be rejected. Or I adopt this voice, and I say: well, Miss Al Thani, why
didn’t you do your homework?! The second secret that I have to offer you is the answer to the
question: why do we do that? Why are we so defensive? And the answer is: we’re scared. We’re scared because we’re
afraid that you won’t accept us. And it’s a defensive mechanism. Because you hold the
key to the fulfillment of every faculty member. Every faculty member is somebody’s
little son and daughter, a little boy and girl who grows up and looks for the approval
and support of the audience. And their audience is the students. So when you go to visit a faculty member in his or her office, or you
pass him or her in the hall, and you see that rumpled
face and that angry voice, just remember that inside
that, behind that facade, inside that person, is someone
who wants your approval. Who’s gonna go home and say: hey, so and so came to my office today! Hey, so and so, this student
passed me in the hall and said: hi, professor. I’m important, I’m
realized, I’m fulfilled. You hold the key to that. Now, the third secret of
Georgetown is about you, not about us. And you all, if you’re
like me, I was a freshman in college more than 50 years ago, and I can tell you: I was scared. In the first semester,
the highest grade I got on an English paper was a D. And I thought I was done; D is for “done”. I thought I was gonna be
gone by Christmas, right? But we know something about
you that you don’t know. And what we know is that,
baby, you got what it takes. We have looked very
carefully at your records, your performance in high
school, your grades, your recommendations, and
we have made the judgment that you have what it takes
to succeed at Georgetown. So four years from now, when
President DeGioia is out here and you march across this
stage and receive your degree, you look at me and you say: professor, you were right all along. I got what it takes, and I made it here. Now, the question is: what is
it that we’re gonna give you in these four years? What is it that’s gonna make you succeed? And the answer is there
are really four elements to a Georgetown education. Each element becomes more difficult and depends more on you and less on us. The first element of education
is one that we give to you. I’ll call it: instruction. The faculty you see up here on the stage know a lot of stuff;
they know about history, politics, economics, languages, culture. They know a lot about a lot of stuff. And they’re gonna give it
to you in their lectures, their readings, and their
classroom discussions. And then they’re gonna test you
to see if you’ve learned it. You’re gonna have to
write papers and exams and participate in class
to show that you have engaged in the delivery of
this traditional knowledge. But this is only instruction. This is what we know and can tell you, and what you can learn from us. The second element of an
education is much harder than the first and depends
more on you and less on us. And this is about how you
learn what we don’t know. Because we really don’t
know what your future holds. I know that we don’t
know because as I said, I was a freshman more than 50 years ago, and I sat in a lecture
hall something like this, and a bunch of professors
came out and told us what they were gonna teach
us in the next four years. I don’t remember a thing they said. Just as you won’t remember
a thing I’ve said today. But I know what they did not say. They did not say that
you’re going into a world in which the fundamental division of power and morality in the world, what
we then called The Cold War, will disappear; the Soviet
Union will disappear, and in place of these great power politics will arise a new nature of
international relations, in which sub-state actors
play a significant role. In which new players, which
were then mere colonies, would become major actors in the world. They didn’t tell us, I’m
sure they didn’t tell us, that information would be fit
together in billions of bits, and transmitted at the speed
of light around the world, and reassembled on the
other side of the world in a global communications system. And they didn’t tell us that
in the course of my lifetime, human impacts on the natural environment would become so
significant that they would place humanity itself in danger. I know they didn’t tell us these
things, because they didn’t know that these things were gonna happen. And similarly, we don’t know what your world is gonna be like. And so we can’t instruct
you on your own futures. All we can do is help you
develop the capacity to learn, and to understand how
to fit ideas together, how to express them, and
how to listen to others. And if you become a
learner, a lifelong learner, then you will have truly gotten something out of this education. The third thing that is involved
in a Georgetown education and also depends more
on you and less on us, is to hear the music of
learning and continue the dance. That is to say, to embrace
the joy of learning, and to want to repeat it
throughout your lives. Because this is the real key: not what we can teach you,
but what you can discover in yourselves and your capacity to learn, and your love of learning, so
that you will want to go on and be lifelong learners. That’s the real value of
this educational experience. That’s what you wanna take away from here, is to be a learner and
a lover of learning. Finally, the final piece of our education, and this we can’t do anything about, this is really up to you, is
to develop your own integrity. Because in the long run, I’m 73 years old, I’ve run a lot of
organizations, and I’ve hired and fired a lot of people, I’ll tell you, and I’ve never hired
anyone or fired anyone on the basis of their brilliance or their technical knowledge. It’s always their integrity,
their reliability, their responsibility, their honesty. And so what I urge you
to do is think about this in your own education. Think not how clever you are
or how much you understand about macroeconomics, but
what kind of person you are. Because in the long run,
it’s really your personality that will sustain you in
your career and in your life. And so it is that which
we’re gonna try to focus on in your own education. So, these are the elements
of my message to you. You’ve got what it takes. You’ve got everything you need to be a successful student here. You will graduate with no difficulty, if you commit yourself to this task. And the real commitment is to learning what you’re instructed,
but developing a sense of being a learner and
being a human being. And if you develop those senses, you will succeed and you’ll go on not only to be a Georgetown graduate, but to be a successful
member of the alumni, and a successful human being. So it is that which I
commend to you today. So thank you all very much,
welcome to Georgetown. (applause) I now ask Professor Akhanadi
to offer the benediction. Please stand. – Oh, loving God, merciful
and compassionate, as we embark on the new school year, we ask for your blessing
on our university family. Grant us the gift of peace, and make us into builders
of peace in our world. This is the blessing we
ask for the coming year. Let us go forth in the world, rejoicing in the power of this spirit. Go in peace. – Thank you all for joining us today. If you would, please remain
standing and at your places until the academic
procession has departed. Once the procession is
completed, you may please join us for a reception in the atrium outside. We would like to continue the tradition of taking a photograph of
the first-year students in their new robes, so I please
ask the first-year students, as soon as you have recessed,
to return to the stage for this photograph, then you may join your families at the reception. When the class of 2021 entered
the hall this afternoon, the school banner was carried by a senior. Harrah Mafuz. Now, as you see, the
upperclassman is passing this banner to a member
of the class of 2021, Amna Salat. In giving this emblem into your hands, we also entrust to you our
newest sons and daughters, Georgetown itself, its
present and its future. Treat that responsibility with care, so that you may live all your
days in the joy and pride of this moment, and may
Georgetown live forever. (applause) (processional music)

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