Keynote speech by Dr. Bui Tran Phuong, Hoa sen President, at the 2nd Commencement ceremony of 2012
Ladies and gentlemen, men and women of Hoa Sen University,
First of all, Congratulations to you, who this event is dedicated to!
I know you worked hard and today your hard work pays off. In a few moments, your name will be called upon, you will come to the stage under the spotlight, be applauded by your friends and your parents. You will feel very proud of yourself and you deserve it. And I am very glad to know that moment will be experienced by more than 1,300 men and women of Hoa Sen. Especially, 242 students will graduate with merit and 4 with distinction and they are standing here with us today. And for them, I’d like the rest of us to give a big applause.
Dear men and women of Hoa Sen University,
This may be the last time I address to you and I would like to take this invaluable opportunity to tell you two things that I hope you will carry with you later on in life.
I know after today, the world opens its door to you and shows you different paths. Imagine this, for every one hundred of you standing here, 83 people already found jobs and will start working tomorrow. Five people will continue their further studies abroad and advanced education in Vietnam. And there will be twelve people still looking for jobs.
For those who are lucky enough to find jobs right away, you may think that you have achieved so much and you don’t have to study anymore. Please remember this, at the very moment I am speaking to you, the world is in trouble. Turmoil ruling in the Middle-East, tension spiking in the Korean peninsula, and storm rising in the Eastern Sea. The world you knew when you arrived at Hoa Sen and that when you are about to say goodbye to it are not the same. So you should prepare yourself for not only the job you found but for a very dynamic future where things change so fast. In 2015, the ASEAN common market will allow for free labor move. What it means is you will have to compete for your job against people from Thailand, Singapore, Burma, and Malaysia. Will you be able to keep your job? Will you be able to find better ones? Or will you be able to create your own business?
For those who decide to pursue higher levels of education, you are lucky enough not to be under the pressure to earn money to support yourself and your parents. You should not take that for granted. You should study hard and replicate your academic success at Hoa Sen. You should not learn for the degree itself nor should you for your family’s reputation. You should hone your skills, improve your English or French acquisition, and gain the professional knowledge you need to work effectively later on. You should work even harder than you did because at this new level of education, you will learn new concepts and will even operate in a foreign environment.
For those who are not lucky to find jobs right away, you should know that in fact, none of us will have our dream jobs right away. Therefore, do not wait until you see your ideal jobs to apply. In my life, every job I took gave me an opportunity and preparation for better ones. I was not born as a university president. I did not start my career as a university president either. But it would not be possible for me to be where I am now without the experience I earned in my previous jobs. Even the preparation for a job needs practice and improvement. You may need to participate in dozens of job interviews to improve your negotiation skills to succeed in the very interview for the job you want.
Dear men and women of Hoa Sen University!
After today, the world will open its door and present to you a thousand choices. My first message to you is that as human, we all pick wrong choices from time to time but our ability to correct and learn from mistakes distinguishes winners from losers. If you pick a wrong choice for any reason, do not think that the world is over for you. You should find out why you pick that choice and learn to avoid it in the future. However, there are choices that you should never pick. Stay away from drugs, not even think of trying them as they only make you more likely to pick other wrong choices. And never give up hope even in the darkest moment of your life or how desperate you feel. You may fall but you should spring back up and stand strong.
I believe in the values of hardworking and being open-minded. Hardworking may not guarantee success but it is the material needed for success. Being open-minded does not change who you are but it allows you to view the world beyond differences. If you work hard and are not limited in how you view the world, you will be able to unlock more doors leading to success.
My second message to you is that after today, your parents will depend on you, this country will depend on you. You are carrying on your shoulders great responsibility as Hoa Sen alumni. I hope that when you walk out of the door at the end of this theater, you will continue to hold the spirit of Hoa Sen alive in many years to come. And what does it mean? You should be kind to other people, especially to those who are poorer than you, weaker than you, or less fortunate than you. In any job you work and in any position you take, you should not think only about money for yourself. This world will not become better if everyone is after herself or himself. This country will not fare any better if the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I am not expecting you to work selflessly for the country or for the poor, I am asking you to try within your capacity to do something for the betterment of your fellow countrymen.
As Hoa Sen graduates, you are members of a special community and must support each other to make that community stronger. You should keep the university informed of your stories and life adventures no matter where you travel or work. You should provide guidance to future Hoa Sen students and create a network of assistance when needed. You don’t have to send your brothers or sisters or children to Hoa Sen for their education but please make us proud.
Dear men and women of Hoa Sen University!
On behalf of the university’s academics and staff, I would like to salute you for your success and wish you the best on your journey of life.