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Speech by the Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli on the Joint Graduate School Graduation Ceremony at Nankai University
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Speech by the Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli on the Joint Graduate School Graduation Ceremony at Nankai University 2017.07.13 President, Graduates, Alumni, distinguished guest, ladies and gentlemen, Welcome to this special day. Graduation days are always great days in the life of a University. And it’s a special pleasure to have you, your families and friends celebrating this moment with our newest graduates. It’s a day full of pride for everyone here: for you, our graduates, for your supporters in this room, for the Joint Graduate School and our two Universities. Yes, the theme of celebration runs deep and wide on days like today. We entered the hall in that spirit. We sang Gaudeamus Igitur which sets the tone! Let us rejoice – let us celebrate! And so we should. And let me tell you why. Let me give you four reasons. First – you, our graduates of today, are trail blazers! You are making history as we speak! The Joint Graduate School, the flagship of the Glasgow-Nankai Institutional Strategic Partnership is the first of its kind in China. And you are the first cohort of students to graduate from the school, with MScs in International Relations, Environmental Management and Urban and Regional Planning. The University of Glasgow has been immensely proud to forge significant and ever deeper links with Nankai. These links are not based on dust or dreams! Rather, they have been built on firm and shared foundations: we are both broad based, multidisciplinary universities, with national and international reputations, who share a passion for learning and teaching, and a commitment to research and internationalisation. We have been nurturing and growing our partnership since 2008, through developing staff and student mobility arrangements at all levels, through our China Scholarship Council partnership, the Collaborative Innovation Institute on China Economy and the launch of our Confucius Institute in Glasgow in 2011. And today, is our latest and perhaps most exciting chapter, and you, as our first graduates, are helping us write it together! You embody our international ambition and aspirations. Each one of you is a real and vibrant expression of our strategy at work, and the effectiveness of our partnership. And it’s fantastic to see! It’s a joy to be part of it – a reason indeed to celebrate. But we’re not simply celebrating history in the making! We are first and foremost celebrating individual achievement - your individual achievement! Our second reason to celebrate. After all your hard work – long days and perhaps even longer nights - you have arrived at this day, triumphant! You have a Masters degree delivered by two world class Universities. And that means something special – it has excellence written through it! Take time to savour the moment. Take time to appreciate all that you have achieved! And remember, nobody can ever take this day, and all that it means, away from you. So yes, let me and all your family and friends celebrate this moment with you and congratulate you once again! (Lead applause) And this then brings me to my third reason to celebrate. The root of the word Graduation, roughly translated means – ‘taking a step’. That’s important. If graduation days mark the end of one chapter, they mark the beginning of another – the gateway to taking a step out into the world and the future – your world, your future. And why? Because you will be taking that step with something very powerful behind you! As students of Nankai University, you already shown yourselves to be people of talent and ability. But you have enhanced and enriched those talents and abilities still further through the degree you now have. You have a degree from this Joint Graduate School, combining the best of both partners, and crucially one that has an international character and dimension. You have learned and worked with academics from different cultures and traditions and that’s enriching. You’ve graduated from a place which prizes teaching, research, innovation and the development of people and citizens equipped for their times. And let me pay tribute to your Nankai and Glasgow tutors who have helped you to this day and who have done so much to build the success of the Joint Graduate School. So you move out and into the world not just with a deeper knowledge of a subject area, but with disciplines, tools and aptitudes, the mind set if you will, to tackle problems, critically and carefully! You really do have something to offer. You have skills, abilities, and knowledge – all honed over your time here. And you have the capacity to go on learning – to keep going after facts and truth with energy, imagination and creativity. Take all you have received from your time here and make it work, not just for you, but for the world around you. We need your talent and abilities. For we all know the world faces global challenges – and needs global solutions. We need creative and innovative thinkers – we need you, today’s graduates to step out and shape the future, invent it even, and make your learning live. Your achievements, which we celebrate today, should be a powerful enabler helping you to make a difference to you, the communities you work for, even the world we share – and that is reason indeed to celebrate. And so to my fourth reason for us all to celebrate. You have now joined a fantastic worldwide community. As graduates of the Joint Graduate School you are now part of, and belong to, Nankai University and the University of Glasgow, just as we belong to you. You can lay claim to our rich history and heritage. That’s something to be proud of, that’s something to celebrate. And you have also joined a vibrant contemporary community that is alive and kicking today! It extends across the world, and counts many thousands among its number. If you are forever part of our great alumni family – past and present – I hope you will also be part of our future too! For as our first cohort of graduates, as our trail blazers, you can be an inspiration to the next generation of students as you make your way either in further study or in your careers. Please be our ambassadors. Speak up and out for our Universities and for the Joint Graduate School. And I hope you will keep in touch and follow our progress as we continue to develop our partnership and our future plans for the school. Fellow graduates, if we entered the hall singing Gaudeamus igitur – I hope we can leave the hall in the same spirit. As I’ve said, you are trail blazers – the first graduates of this pioneering school; you have a prestigious degree; you have something to give the world, and you are forever part of us, and the great alumni communities we represent. I think then, I have made my case. Gaudeamus Igitur! Let’s celebrate! I wish you well! Thank you.
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