GU-Q New Student Convocation 2019

(triumphant music) (resolute music) (singing in foreign language) ♪ O say can you see ♪ ♪ By the dawn’s early light ♪ ♪ What so proudly we hailed ♪ ♪ At the twilight’s last gleaming ♪ ♪ Whose broad stripes and bright stars ♪ ♪ Through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ O’er the ramparts we watched ♪ ♪ Were so gallantly streaming ♪ ♪ And the rockets’ red glare ♪ ♪ The bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ Gave proof through the night ♪ ♪ That our flag was still there ♪ ♪ O say does that star-spangled ♪ ♪ Banner yet wave ♪ ♪ O’er the land of the free ♪ ♪ And the home of the brave ♪ – 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 aid to fill the hearts which you have made. At the end we will ask 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. Saint Ignatius 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 GU-Q to ensure we carry on this
legacy of this tradition. Today, we’ll begin the convocation with an Islamic prayer
and Christian prayer. Abdullah Al Marti, class of 2021, will offer an Islamic prayer, followed by Adam Polacco, class of 2021, for a Christian prayer. (prays in foreign language) – Almighty 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 as concerned
for the needs 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 earth that you have so wondrously made. Eternal God, the source of all goodness,
discipline, and knowledge, bless our university and
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. – Excellencies, members
of the faculty and staff of Georgetown University in Qatar, class of 2023, proud family members and friends, ladies and gentlemen, welcome. You are joining us tonight at the beautiful Georgetown
University in Qatar building for the time-honored tradition of the new student convocation which welcomes our incoming class and inducts them formally
into the Georgetown family. My name is Ahmad Dallal. I am the deam of our campus here in Qatar. Class of 2023, tonight you will be making history as part of a long line of men and women who for more than two centuries have become sons and daughters
of Georgetown University. This history will become your
story, or at least part of it, and it is my job to make sure that it is one that you remember fondly for all that it holds in store for you, and in sharing it with
others along the way, something that is remembered long after your time with us concludes. It all started when
Archbishop John Carroll, who was the first Catholic
bishop in the United States, took formal possession of land on a hilltop in Maryland in 1789. This is considered the establishment date for Georgetown University. By 1814, enrollment had
already surpassed 100. It was at that time that
Georgetown’s president, Reverend John Grass of
the Society of Jesus, asked William Gaston, our first student, who by then had become a congressman representing North Carolina, to introduce a petition into
Congress for a federal charter, which is a law stating
the mission, authority, and activities of a group. It is our venerable custom to
make all academic ceremonies, to mark all academic ceremonies with a reading of that charter, which is our founding document. Deborah McKee, associate
registrar, will read the charter. – An act concerning the
College of Georgetown in the District of Columbia. Be it enacted by the Senate and 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 to such degree. Signed, Langdon Cheves, Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Gaillard, president
pro tempore of the Senate, approved March 1st, 1815, James Madison, president
of the United States. – Now to introduce you to the
academic journey ahead of you, I call on Associate Professor of History Doctor Max Oidtmann. Professor Oidtmann is a historian
of China and Central Asia and the author of “Forging the
Golden Urn: The Qing Empire “and the Politics of
Reincarnation in Tibet,” which was published last year
by Columbia University Press. He received his doctorate degree from Harvard University in 2014, and he joined Georgetown in Qatar in 2015, and has been working here ever since. You may have him for
courses in Asian history, Islam and Muslims in East Asia and Tibet, and comparative studies
of empire and colonialism. Aside from these areas of expertise, he’s also an expert, like his colleagues, on teaching and learning, on
researching and reflection, and along with his colleagues, he will help you, in the next four years, to become well-rounded professionals ready to take on the world. – Salaam alaikum. It is my, yeah, you have to say
something in response. (audience laughs) Sorry, I’m jumping in. It’s my pleasure to welcome
you here to Georgetown today, to welcome the class of 2023 to Georgetown University in Qatar. It’s really nice to see
such a large incoming class, and I look forward to
getting to know you all, in a much deeper sense,
in the next four years, but I have some business
to attend to right away, so this is your first
quiz, your first test. How many of you can identify
the following quote: The master said, “To learn
and rehearse it constantly, “is this indeed not a pleasure? “To have friends come from afar, “is this indeed not a delight? “Others do not know him,
yet he feels no resentment. “Is he indeed not a superior man?” Any ideas? Upper level students? (audience laughs) C’mon, I teach Chinese history. – [Audience Member] Confucius. – Yeah, okay, Confucius, very good, so these are the opening
lines of the Analects, the words of Confucius as
recorded by his students after he died 2,498 years ago. The followers of Confucius
placed these words at the very beginning of the Analects because they thought they
most perfectly expressed the purpose of his teachings. You many find this surprising, but they also perfectly capture the purpose of a Georgetown education. Yeah, it’s true. The curriculum of the Georgetown degree and a classical Confucian education are fundamentally the same. The SFS degree, as a classic
liberal arts education, shares Confucianism’s emphasis on the study of religion,
government, and history in preparation for moral leadership. Unlike your peers at Texas
A&M, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, VCU, or Northwestern, you’re not learning, you will not learn simple
technological skills here. We’re not preparing you to drill for oil, to pass out pills, to put on Band-Aids, and with an apology to those
medical professionals here, the math speaks pretty clearly that an empathetic official,
a virtuous lawmaker, will always save many, many more lives than a single individual doctor. I expect many of you to step
into those types of roles sometime in the future. The graduates of these other schools will merely be the instruments, the tools by which you
achieve a more just world, but enough flattery for the time being. I make this point primarily to say that
a Georgetown education is not a Western education. It is not some American plot, and you are not here to get brainwashed. What you are really doing is joining an ancient tradition of education that has unified the East, the West, and the world’s in-between from ancient times to the present. The opening lines of the Analects are telling you exactly what
this tradition was all about, so let me briefly translate for you what Confucius was saying. It is extremely important
that you all understand what is going to happen here and how we will measure your progress, so Confucius is making three basic points. First, Confucius is saying
that learning is hard. He’s telling all his students
to prepare themselves for long nights, for
frustration, and for failure. You will fail. You will all fail. You will struggle. You will have to do
things over and over again to get them right. This is necessary. This is human. You all have different
strengths and weaknesses. You all have different talents, different degrees of preparation, different academic backgrounds. When you fail, when you bomb in econ, when your professors here tell you to go take a
trip to the writing center and learn how to write better, it’s not because you’re not smart enough, you’re not intelligent enough, or you’ve come to the wrong place. It’s because you are simply human. You belong here. Really, you do. Two years from now, keep that in mind. You do, in fact, belong here. Confucius is also saying that learning is a lifelong process. You will need to fail,
reflect on your failures, and learn throughout the
entire course of your life. Georgetown is only the
beginning of this process. Some of the most important
events of your life will happen in the years after
you graduate from Georgetown, so don’t take Georgetown too seriously. The second thing that
Confucius is saying is that you are not as important
as you think you are. Others do not know him,
yet he feels no resentment. Is he not the superior man? Real learning requires humility. Real learning requires
a proper understanding of your place in the world. None of you individually,
alone, are all that special, and you aren’t actually all that smart. What you did in high school, what you’ve accomplished doesn’t matter. I don’t care what your name is. I don’t care what kind of car you drive. I don’t really care who you are, and I definitely don’t care
about who you were in the past. What a Confucian education, what a Georgetown education cares about are the transformations you will undergo over the next four years. You will hopefully become
not just one person, but many people. You need to become many different people because the purpose of
a Georgetown education is to prepare you to serve other people in many different types of communities, and do the right thing in many different types of
unpredictable situations. This requires not finding yourself, but finding other people and learning about their perspectives: their history, their faiths, their gods, their art, their governments, and maybe even how they make money. Yeah, maybe you can take some economics. Might be useful. There’s no single real you that needs discovering
over the next four years. The goal here is to develop
the many versions of you because you’re all complicated. You already exist in multiple roles, and have encountered many situations. You belong to a family. You are citizens of a state. You now reside in Doha, and you have become, or will become, members of the Georgetown community. Each one of these roles requires
a different version of you and an ability to understand and empathize with the people around you. In other words, a person who can act for the
good of the people around them, so stop worrying about yourself. This is not about you. Oh, and I wanna interject here. I spoke a little bit, or the
quotation spoke a little bit about becoming a superior man, and used this language
of he, and he, and he. The fact of the matter is that the original classical Chinese does not contain the word
he or man in it, right? In traditional China, there was the expectation
that both men and women needed to engage in learning. Elite families in the
17th and 18th centuries educated both their daughters
and their sons, right? It’s unfortunately a fact of the English and
other European languages that it imposes a kind of gender quality on these expectations, but these are universal expectations. Maybe if we all spoke Chinese we could solve a lot of problems. A comment for the dean. (audience laughs) The third and final thing
that Confucius is saying about being a Georgetown student is that if you think you’re grades
matter, you’re totally wrong. Here maybe I speak for myself. If you think that your GPA is the true measure of your self-worth, you will completely fail at life. If you think that winning games, receiving accolades and
awards, getting promotion, and becoming a so-called leader, or earning a ton of money
are going to make you happy, you’re going to be completely miserable. Confucius is saying what really matters is your relationships: your relationship to your ancestors, your relationship to your family, your relationship to your god, your relationship to your community, however you define that. It is in these bonds that you
can live a fulfilling life, a good life. When I think back on the
students I’ve encountered over the past six years, the ones that I remember most fondly are the ones I’ve had conversations with, and they weren’t necessarily the people that dominated awards night. To have friends come from afar, is this indeed not a delight? When it comes to defining
success and living the good life, Confucians would subsequently talk a lot about their relationships
to family and community, but Confucius himself pointed his finger first at friendship. It is the only relationship that we actually have
the freedom to choose, and therefore friendships are
the truest, purest measures of a life well-lived. He is also saying that building
and maintaining friendships is extremely difficult. Do not underestimate
how much work it takes to sustain a real friendship. Your Facebook friends:
maybe, maybe not, right? How far would you travel
to visit a friend? What do you think it will take? What kind of a person
will you need to become to persuade someone to
travel to visit you? So to conclude, focus on the people
around you, not yourself, for the next four years. I don’t care what grades
you get in my class, but I do hope that, well, I’ll qualify that probably later, (audience laughs) on Monday morning, but for the purpose of rhetoric, what I do care about, though, or what I do really hope for
you, sincerely, very sincerely, is that 20 years from now some Georgetown friend will
come from afar to visit you. That will be a true measure
of your success here, so with that, I can only say
it’s time to get to work. I now have the honor of introducing Fiza
Shahzad, class of 2021, and Lina Noureldin, class of 2020, who will welcome you on behalf of the students of
Georgetown University in Qatar. – Class of 2023, parents, faculty, staff, ladies and gentlemen, good evening. My name is Lina Noureldin. – And my name is Fiza Shahzad. – And we are your new student
orientation coordinators. Presently I am a rising senior, and as I go into my
last year of university, I look back at all the three
years I had in Georgetown. The six semesters, the four NSOs, but I can say with utmost
certainty that this NSO does not come close to
all the other ones I had, whether it was in terms of experience, in terms of atmosphere,
and in terms of the people. Looking at all of your faces I can see my freshman self
in each and every one of you. The expression of fear, the
expression of confusion, the expression of nervousness,
the expression of excitement, but most of all the
expression of being lost, of going into the unknown, of
not knowing what to do next. With this in mind, I just want you all to know
that you are not alone. We have all been in your place. We walked down the pathways. We’ve put on the robes, and I guarantee that if you
talk to anyone in this room, that you will find a
little bit of yourself. University sounds scary, and your first week of
university sounds even scarier, but I cannot emphasize this enough, that the Georgetown Qatar community is behind you with each step, but you also have a responsibility
to go to your professors, to talk to your deans, to find out about all the
resources available to you, and to communicate with your peers. You might think that you are
alone, and confused, and lost, but talk to those around you. Now, this year’s orientation was about diversity and integration, and Fiza and I came up with this, not because we wanted to
emphasize how diverse you are, which is great, but we wanted to emphasize
all the similarities seeping through those diversity. You can look at the person on your right and the person on your left. These people will be with you for the next four years, hopefully, and we hope that this NSO has taught you to look at both of these people and find something in common
behind the exterior looks, behind the way they dress, and even behind their
political affiliation. The three of you share a unique identity
in Georgetown Qatar, and you can’t forget that. At the end of each day, you’re all here with
the staff and faculty, and we all have each other’s back. In addition to acknowledging similarities, your Georgetown journey
is here for you to grow. Do not expect the person you are right now to be the exact same person
after four years here, as wise you cannot expect
the people next to you to be the exact same people
they are four years from now. What I’m trying to say is
don’t judge too quickly, and don’t hold onto these judgments because God knows that
I am not the same person I was in my freshman year, and the amount of growth that I have to do in my final year here. Remember that you are here for each other, as well as you are here for yourself. – Firstly, I would like to
congratulate all 111 of you on being accepted to
Georgetown University Qatar, and of course of having the good sense of choosing to attend this university. In my portion of this speech I would like to highlight
a few experiences that you will most likely encounter while you attempt to grow and evolve over the next four years. Failure, as you will
sooner or later understand, can be quite daunting, especially on a campus
as small as this one. Yes, the university’s
essentially a fish tank where everyone hears
everything and knows everyone, but I sincerely hope you will
never let that hold you back from extending yourself. Never let the fear of failure impact how you approach anything. Give every opportunity your best, and that will ensure that you remain at peace with the outcome. Failure, loss, criticism
ultimately help you grow, even if it is clearly, may not seem like it at the time. You may be upset. You may vent. You may go to an anger
room and break some plates, but at the end of the day you must push yourself to stand back up, at your own pace, of course, and realize that you
are more than a grade, a position, or an opinion. Define who you are and what you stand for. Never let someone else do that for you. Be yourself. As weird as it may sound, university often tends
to be kind of environment where many lose their identity in the hope of being accepted by others. Never be ashamed or uneasy
about where you come from and what values you hold dear, even if they may be drastically different compared to everyone else’s around you. That is not to say that your identity will always remain the same. Learn from one another. Help each other grow and improve. Embody characteristics
you may admire in others. Try to be the very best
version of yourself, and most importantly, understand that everyone has
their own unique talents. You have four years to really
find and cultivate yours. However, in order to do
that, you must do the work. Your parents, family members, professors, staff, and friends, all investing their time and energy in ensuring your success. It is your responsibility to really milk the situation
for what it’s worth, take responsibility for your education, do your readings, work
hard on your assignments, actually remember to
submit the assignments after you have done them, but do not just leave them
as decor on your desktop for the professors to miraculously find, and most importantly, go to class. While trying to follow all
of this, remember yourself. I know that sounds ridiculous. How do you forget yourself? But you would be surprised
by how easy that is. Do not forget your purpose for being here, and for what you hope to achieve. You can only fulfill that by actively looking after yourself. The road to graduation is by no means a straight or simple path. Many of you will feel
emotionally or physically drained on multiple occasions. Remember to give yourself a break. You do not need to push
yourself to the edge every time. Talk to someone you can trust. Know that you are never struggling alone, and that it takes time to heal. Have faith in yourself. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, always, and I mean always, take
advantage of the free food. Georgetown has multiple events every day. I am sure if you plan your schedule right you will never have to worry about lunch for the next four years, but however, in honesty, attend as many events as you can and take advantage of all
the opinions, the learning, and the ideas you will be
exposed to at our campus. I wish you all the best, and on behalf of Lina and I, I can guarantee that you
can always come to us or your orientation advisors
over the next four years. Thank you and Hoya Saxa. – 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. Mousseh Abayna. Hasnah Abdullah. Marwah Abdullah. Amina Abdul Nassir. Iman Abdusalaam Zachariah Abu. Paula Akim. Lina Ahmed. Usaim Aidelkadi. Hind al-Ansari. Shehah al-Assiri. Mounah al-Asmah. Nour al-Banna. Sultan al-Bonin. Aldana al-Borshe. Aisha al-Boineen. Amnah al-Diffa. Yusuf al-Dervesti. Aisha al-Hail. Maha al-Haroun. Farah Ali. Shamma Alkaabi. Noor al-Kuwari. Aljohara al-Kobaisi. Asma al-Kuwari. Muhammad al-Kuwari. Haia al-Maleed. Bashire al-Mana. Hoda al-Monai. Lulwa al-Monai. Asha al-Mansouri. Sara Almehri. Dana al-Muhannadi. Mariam al-Muhannadi. Abdul-Razak al-Muhannadi. Aisha al-Muhannadi. Muhammad al-Muhannadi. Ranem al-Naimi. Rada al-Nasseri. Shehah al-Obaidan. Nour al-Okati. Alia al-Suwaidi. Joahir al-Salaiti. Shouk al-Tamimi. Abderahman al-Thani. Tamim al-Thani. Aisha al-Thani. Almaha al-Thani. Muhammad al-Thani. Fouad Ansarudeen. Muhammad Ashr. Zain Asaf. Mahrouch Bakkali. Muhammad Bashir. Prajwal Bista. Luka Bulatovic. Wakar Bot. Muhammad Carter. Zuwei Chen. Ina Czerniak. Alexander Chirgun. Muhammad Chishti. Lina Darwish. Zaina Dubinski. Yasmina el-Argoubi. Aida Leserbi. Abdullah Meragawi. Ala Raya. Jood al-Sahawi. Elham Fahoum. Taylor Hinkle. Safina Ibrahim. Seraj Ibrahim. Fariha Iqbal. Rafa Islam. Yusuf Jawan. Andrew Jose. Ashish Karn. Timur Chujemetov. Haiman Kim. Yetta Kareka. Benjamin Kurian. Maria Kovarch Kalia. Said Alihan Maksutranov. Adin Malik. Aminala Mamadzioyev. Habiba Muhammad. Aya Muhammad. Fatima Moyed. Rodolfo Munoz Cardenas. Wathaina Namuz. Abdullah Nazir. Helen Negash. Muhammad Nouman. Shifa Nouman. Shochrobek Nurmatov. Hajer Usani. Hunjin Park. Alak Raad. Fatima Rahimi. Nikhil Sangraula. Maria Severine. Anjuli Singh. Claire Turner. Muhammad Alla. Kartikeya Uniyal. Safura Osmani. Rahima Velmi. Shahzad Yoldoshboyev. Azmi Zaman, and Hassan Zarandah. Dean Dallal, I have the distinct pleasure to present to you the newest members of Georgetown University’s
School of Foreign Service. – Ladies and gentlemen
of the class of 2023, I am delighted to welcome you
to our community of learners. As members of this community, we commit ourselves to be
truthful in all that we say and in all that we write, and at Georgetown University
we invite all incoming students to express their commitment to their goal by reciting the honor pledge. Wesley Chen, class of 2020, and student chair of the Honor Council, will lead the honor pledge. – 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 forms a central part of
a Georgetown education. You’ll find the words to the honor pledge in the centerfold of your program. Students, please repeat each phrase of the honor pledge after me. In pursuit of the high ideals. – [Students] In 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. – Members of the class of 2023, now that you’ve heard the founding story, learned about the commitments, and taken the honor pledge, I invite you to join this historic and honorable community of scholars. Behind me, in resplendent array, are existing members of this community wearing their uniform and ranks. These robes were previously
made of heavy wool to stave off the chill
of unheated stone walls in colder climes, but today signify membership in a community serving truth and justice, who with a pen seek to
conquer the world’s ignorance, prejudices, divisions,
fears, and uncertainty. The robe you carry over your
arm is the bachelor’s gown. When you don that gown, that uniform, you enter into this community and signify thereby your pledge to pursue its highest ideals: the search for truth in the
service of your community, your country, and the world. Are we ready? I didn’t hear. – [Students] Yes.
– Yes. Ladies and gentlemen, you
may now don your gowns. (triumphant music) Fellow faculty, deans,
staff, parents, and friends, please join me in welcoming
the newest members of the Georgetown University community. (audience applauding) For the rest of the audience, please rise and join Irene
Promodh, class of 2021, in singing the Georgetown alma mater. You will find the words
and music in your programs in the centerfold. ♪ 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 standard 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 ♪ – It’s now my pleasure to bring to you, to the newest members of our community, a message via video from
Doctor John J. DeGioia, the president of Georgetown University. Doctor DeGioia is a graduate
of Georgetown College, class of 1979. He holds the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy, class of 1995. (bell chimes) – 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, a tradition which has shaped our community since our founding more
than 2 1/4 centuries ago. This tradition is deeply rooted in our Catholic and Jesuit identity, and in the teachings of the
founder of the Society of Jesus, Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Saint Ignatius and the early Jesuits almost five centuries ago provided the foundation
for our way of life, our way of proceeding here at Georgetown. Today this way of life is characterized by values
that bind us together, a commitment to academic excellence in the pursuit of knowledge, a commitment to engagement and dialogue, a commitment to our communities of faith, and a commitment to service, to serving each other, our
communities, and our world. We hope these values will come alive during your time with us, and that they will inspire
your own energy and commitment as members of this community. 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, a journey that will deepen
your own self-understanding and your contributions to our world. We are living at a time when the challenges confronting our world demand even more from us. There are urgent challenges
that must be engaged, from 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 confront these challenges within the context of
our Georgetown community. Here, we engage in this work, shaped and informed by
our home here in Doha, by the history and vibrancy of this place, and also by the challenges
and opportunities that will influence the future of the Middle East and beyond. Universities are uniquely positioned to act as conveners of dialogue, to provide a context for
deeper understanding, and greater civility among peoples of disparate experiences,
cultures, and faiths. Your experience will be
shaped by our tradition, and by all that our GU-Q
campus has to offer. For over a decade, this community has
cultivated a rich culture of research and academic excellence, of service and engagement with the needs of our global community, of intercultural and
inter-religious understanding, and of care for one another. As a university community, we are deeply committed
to promoting dialogue and an open exchange of ideas because we believe that this is the best, in fact the only way to
achieve a deeper understanding of our world, of each other, and of truth. Our values bridge the
physical distance between us. Through the tradition we share as members of the Georgetown community, we have the resources to build bridges of compassion, understanding, and peace, not only between Washington DC and Doha, but among all members
of our global community, especially those who
are most marginalized. We embrace this responsibility, this urgent call to service. As we seek to bring out the
very best in one another, we will find the very
best within ourselves. It is an honor to share
these greetings with you. Welcome to Georgetown. – Class of 2023, take a
moment to look around you. There are more than 100 of you here today, part of our largest entering
freshman class so far. That’s being said, that’s not very many. Take the time to meet each other, for these are your fellow companions for the next four years and beyond. Class of 2023, today
you embark on a journey that will leave long-lasting
marks on your lives. Your journey did not start today, nor will it end when you graduate in 2023. You wouldn’t be here today were it not for the work
you have already done, and the achievements
you have accomplished. Your graduation will
only be the culmination of one phase in a lifelong
journey of learning when you succeed in this
educational endeavor, but today is a special day because it marks your official induction into the Georgetown community, a community which is firmly committed to the open pursuit of knowledge. Joining a university community is at once a privilege
and a responsibility. It’s a privilege because you will be
able to avail yourselves of the knowledge and dedication
of the faculty members who care deeply about your
intellectual and personal growth, and who measure their
own success by yours. You are getting a web of support that ensures you have the opportunity to apply your learning
in real-life situations, learn to lead and understand
your own capabilities, see the world, and use your knowledge to
serve your communities. It’s a privilege because you will forge deep,
life-long friendships and bonds that will support you during
your formative years of study at Georgetown and beyond, but perhaps the greatest privilege is that you will be part of a
protected environment where you will have the
freedom to express yourself, to seek, explore, articulate, and exchange ideas and opinions, to test and enrich your
convictions and beliefs, to engage in open dialogues, to better understand
and relate to the world in all of its diversity and complexity, as Max so eloquently pointed out, and ultimately to fulfill yourself and inch closer to the
attainment of what we call truth. Of course, this privilege also
comes with responsibilities: the responsibility to listen, to recognize the freedom of others, and to cultivate civil and open dialogue even if it takes you out
of your comfort zones, and the intellectual responsibility that is the hallmark of academic
freedom in a university, recognizing that the truth
value of any proposition is only as strong as the arguments we provide to validate it, holding ourselves to high standards of evidence and understanding, that in universities we
seek to provide validation to our attempts to offer the
best accounts of the truth, so class of 2023, I hope you will take full
advantage of the opportunities that a membership in this
Georgetown community offers you, and I urge you to take these rights, responsibilities, and values to heart, and begin to embody them using these next four
years to polish yourselves into something truthful,
dependable, and humble, who continually seeks
to understand the world and strives to make it better. We look forward to welcoming
each and every one of you to the Hoya family. I now ask Professor Akinade
to offer the benediction. Please stand. – Oh loving God, masterful,
everlasting, and compassionate, as we embark on the new school year we ask for your abundant blessing on our entire university family as we begin a new academic year at GU-Q, be with our faculty,
administrators, staff, and students. In times of doubt, give us confidence. On dark days, give us light. May the good Lord bless and
keep you this day and always, and may God’s abundant grace be with you now and forever, amen. Go in peace. – Thank you for joining us here today. Please remain standing at your places until the academic
procession has departed. Once the procession is completed, please join us for a
reception in the atrium. We would like to continue the tradition of taking a photograph of the first-year students
in their new robes, and so I ask all first-year students, as soon as you have
completed the procession, to continue to the atrium for a photo. Then you may join your
families at the reception. When the class of 2023 entered
the hall this afternoon, the school banner was carried
in by senior Sarah Al-Mutoteh. Now, as you see, the upper-class student is handing the banner to a
member of your own class, Maria Severine. 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. (triumphant music)

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