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UTS Graduation Ceremony
4 May 2004
Chancellor Sir Gerrard Brennan,
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ross Milbourne
Members of the UTS community
you for the great honor you do me and for the special privilege of
standing before you at this special moment of renewal and transition. Perennial as the
grass, graduations celebrate achievement and promote transition. To the
graduates, our speeches today must both help and challenge you as you
embark on your new journey of life.
have had the occasion to address a number of these gatherings in past
years, and some overarching themes recur in what I have to say. But today is different. Today is special for me and for
all of you.. For you are
graduating into a world undergoing a transformation so profound that its
contours can only be dimly perceived, and its driving forces can be barely
understood, and its momentous consequences can be hardly imagined . Indeed, it provokes fear as much
as it seduces the imagination..
by ever more powerful computers and ever faster communications, the
digital language of bits and bytes allows us to merge the realms of words,
music, image and data as never before. The internet revolutionizes the
very meaning of time and space. New industries appear, and
the old disappear. With the click of a mouse and the flight of an
electron, billions of dollars move across the globe. The fast eat the slow.
that is not all. From
informatics to the life sciences, the revolution continues. Today we are
decoding the DNA blueprints of life, we are mobilizing bacteria to do our
work, and we are manipulating the very building blocks of life. Our new capacities pose new and
profound ethical and safety issues, further complicated by the new issues
of proprietary science.
these be the forces of homogenization or of diversity? Will they be used to crush the
weak or to afford them new opportunities?
Much has been done
much to make the world a better place for all. The twentieth century, was one of
struggle for emancipation. The colonies were liberated, women got the
franchise, racial, ethnic and religious minorities and non-conformists
were all acknowledged to have political and civil rights that derive from
their common humanity. Around the planet, more people than ever enjoy
these freedoms. This has not come easily, and the blood of millions was
the price that was paid to reach where we have reached
socio-economic front, in the last forty years the developing countries
have doubled school enrollments, halved infant mortality and adult
illiteracy, and extended life expectancy at birth by an amazing twenty
years. But despite
that, much, so much, remains to be done. A global developmental agenda
demands our efforts and our solidarity. This new world that has
never been more promising or more perilous .
the paradox of our times. We
live in a world of plenty, of dazzling scientific advances and
technological breakthroughs. Yet, our times are marred by conflict,
violence, economic uncertainty and tragic poverty. A sense of insecurity pervades
even the most affluent societies. Nations are looking inward, and the rich
turn their backs on the poor.
this world so rapidly reinventing itself, where does ethical responsibility come
in? The ruthless allocative
efficiency of the market should
be tempered by a caring and nurturing society. We cannot allow the gap between
the rich and the poor continue to grow. We must recognize that we are all
part of the same human family.
Lincoln once warned the American people that a house divided cannot stand,
that a nation cannot live half slave and half free.
I warn you and all people on earth, that a world divided cannot survive,
that the human family cannot live partly rich and mostly poor.
must change the world.
Do not listen to the cynics and the nay-sayers! The world can be changed,
but only if we fight against the prevailing apathy and lack of
this fight, this new generation, whose vanguard you represent, must bring
its abilities and a sense of moral outrage. Yes, moral outrage.
is inconceivable that there should be some 800 million persons going
hungry in a world that can provide for that most basic of all human
needs. In the 19th century, some people looked at the condition of slavery
and said that it was monstrous and unconscionable. That it must be
abolished. They were known as the abolitionists. They did not argue from
economic self interest, but from moral outrage.
the condition of hunger in a world of plenty is equally monstrous and
unconscionable and must be abolished. We must become the "new
must, with the same zeal and moral outrage, attack the complacency that
would turn a blind eye to this silent holocaust which claims some 40,000
hunger-related deaths every day.
theme is one that I take mostly to young graduating classes like
the nobility of your spirit,
the exuberance of your youth,
the quality of the education you have received,
the unsullied idealism that you possess,
the dedication to our common humanity that you bring
I find the hope of mastering the great global technological revolution and
of building better tomorrows.
secret of success will be more in the bedrock of your values, inherited
and learned, than in the specific knowledge you have gained today. You have learned to learn, but
more importantly, you have grown to care.
harness your skill, your imagination and your determination to create a
better world for all, not just for yourselves.The challenge is great, but
it must be met. You can meet
it, driven by a vision . A
vision of a caring society
vision of a caring society where (in keeping with Gandhi) there would be
Politics without principle
Wealth without work
Commerce without morality
Pleasure without conscience
Education without character
Science without humanity
vision where a people's greatness is measured by the quality of the lives
of their poorest citizens not by the size of their armies or the scale of
vision where the future is for all, as open-ended as knowledge, as random
as play, as surprising as human imagination and ingenuity .
We must change the world. We must ensure that the new millennium is indeed
the millennium for all the wretched of the
can be done, it must be done,
and by your work . it will be done.
are the vanguard of the new generation of this great global
transformation. So, go forth
into the journey of your lives, and create a better world for yourselves
and for others. Think of the
unborn, remember the forgotten, give hope to the forlorn, include the
excluded, reach out to the unreached, and by your actions from this day
onwards lay the foundation for better tomorrows.