Dr. Xiao Xi,
Dean of School of International and Public Affairs, Jilin University
Changchun City, China
Date: June 22, 2021
Dear Class of 2021, SIPA students, faculty, staff, and friends,
There is always a moment when people feel specially proud of SIPA and oneself, for successfully completing a long but rewarding journey of education. And now the moment has come. With the presence of family, friends and loved, I share the same thrill and happiness to congratulate the great Class of 2021!
Back in 2019 and before, we were able to hold grand ceremonies as an honored tradition for all graduating students here in the international auditorium. Now we are able to make it happen again amid a “normal” situation, which is a rare commodity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, today, we’re making history again with our first ever virtual graduation celebration. I’d like to thank the many people whose expertise and hard work have made this possible.
Making the sudden switch to remote learning for the last mile of your academic journey was a significant –and I know painful — adjustment. While I’m gratified at how well you’ve handled this challenge, I am not surprised. When SIPA is confronted with big challenges, we don’t throw up our hands. We roll up our sleeves to look for solutions. Your appetite for challenges as students — and now, as graduates — will be a priceless asset in the years ahead.Because as serious as the pandemic challenge is in itself, as well as the big changes unseen in the century, together with other uncertainties that are haunting the globe, spotlight even rigorous challenges.
But somehow, you have survived such death-defying acts. You got here, you made it. Today, you join a long line of SIPAers whose energy and intellect have lifted this school to heights its pioneers could not have imagined. And, Class of 2021, you are graduating at such an inflection point. Considering the mixture of this new millennium, the pandemic and the changes unseen in a century, you’ve already witnessed horrific terrorist attacks, a Great Recession, a worldwide pandemic, as well as the positive development of international order. You’ve seen economic and technological and cultural shifts that are profoundly altering how we work and how we communicate, how we live, how we form families. The pace of change is not subsiding; it is accelerating. And these changes offer not only great peril, but also great opportunity.
Fortunately, your generation has everything it takes to lead this world toward a brighter future. I’m confident that you can make the right choices — away from fear and division and paralysis, and toward cooperation and innovation and hope. Now, partly, I’m confident because you have above mentioned positive quality characteristics—on average—you’re smarter and better educated than my generation. Further, you’ve been more exposed to the world, more exposed to other cultures. You’re more diverse. You’re more environmentally conscious. You have a healthy skepticism for conventional wisdom. And more importantly, you’re future world leaders.
It has been said, wisely, that the success of our society and the community with a shared future for mankind rests upon on our willingness to think of each other, and not only ourselves. My hope and expectation is that you will embrace this principle. That you will step up in your own communities, that you will take on the solemn responsibility of leadership to change the world. That’s our goal to cultivate you smart, diverse students.
Class of 2021, your years at Jilin University have been a time of intellectual exploration, remarkable accomplishment, and extraordinary hard work and dedication.Today, we honor everything that you have achieved during your time at Jilin University, and we celebrate as you embark on the next stage of your journey.These are uncertain times in many ways. But I feel so much more confident about our future — simply by knowing that you, our graduates, will be part of it.Today’s ceremony marks the conclusion of your time as Jilin University students. But I have great hope that, here at School of International and Public Affairs, you have acquired the tools and skills to remain learners for life. Even as you leave our campus behind, you will remain a cherished part of SIPA family.Additionally, keep the following words in mind: Let today serve as a beginning, and not an ending. And most importantly, embrace the opportunities ahead of you and use the platform you’ve earned to change the world for the better.
Last but not least, Jilin University and SIPA will always be your warm harbor. We welcome you back at anytime in the future.
Again, Class of 2021, on behalf of SIPA, congratulations to you on this special day, keep in touch, and good luck to your future.