On June 29, 2019, the commencement ceremony for the class of 2019 with the National School of Development (NSD) and the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development (ISSCAD) was held at Peking University Centennial Memorial Hall.
At 8:30 am, the national anthem ushered in the ceremony which was hosted by Prof. HUANG Yiping, Deputy Dean of NSD.
Prof. HUANG Yiping
The first speech was delivered by Prof. YAO Yang, Dean of NSD. After sending a congratulatory message to all the graduates, he inspired them to give a deep thought to a journey that is about to begin. He told them a story that has stayed with him since he was young. It is The Six, a novel authored by German writer Rudolf Rocker. As the name suggests, it is about the six roads travelled by six well-known characters from world literature: Faust, Don Juan, Hamlet, Don Quixote, Medardus the Monk, and the bard Heinrich von Ofterdingen. YAO remarked that the message conveyed by the novel cannot be clearer: different attitudes and pursuits lead to different lives. He encouraged the graduates to be a critical thinker, the most valuable gift that Peking University has bestowed on its graduates. They should also stay true to their original aspiration as the fictional character Don Quixote did, and never flinch from the cruelty of life.
Prof. YAO Yang
The second speaker was Professor LIN Shuanglin, as the representative of the faculty. He reflected on his own commencement ceremony for the first class of Peking University after the country resumed university entrance examination in 1977. He said when he was awarded bachelor degree, he knew that he wanted something bigger. Therefore, as someone who has travelled further down the road, he understood what was going on in the graduates’ mind. But his speech is deeper than merely struck a chord with these graduates. He called on them to shift perspective from the economic assumption of egoism to altruism, from acting in one's self-interest to having an obligation to help the disadvantaged. He explained that what defines Peking University is that it imbues its students with the tenacity to never give up, the compassion for people who suffer, the importance of the worthy deed, the audacity to be the first and the drive to make a world a better place.
Prof. LIN Shuanglin
Dr. ZHANG Rui gave a speech as the representative of Masters and Doctorate Degree Awardees. He expressed his thanks to NSD where he learned to pay meticulous attention to academic research, had an intimate knowledge of economics, and knew what he aspires to be and how to get there. He remarked that this vision was credited to the teachers of NSD, who, with their gentleman bearing and rich experience studying in prestigious foreign universities, inspire the graduates to aim high and go far. He sent his best wishes for all graduates to stay forever young.
Dr. ZHANG Rui
SHENG Zijing, being awarded double degrees from the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences and the economics major of NSD, gave a speech on behalf of double degree holders. To get a degree in Economics from NSD is an unabated enthusiasm shared by undergraduates of Peking University. SHENG joked that he too, cannot help but follow the herd. But the short stint in studying Economics offers him great opportunity to be mentored by NSD’s gurus. Moved by their devotion to Economics research, SHENG applied himself assiduously to this program, ever cognizant of the meaning of “No pain, no gain.” At the end of his speech, he said he shared a passion with his fellow double degree holders, that is, to shape the destiny of their own and their motherland.
DONG Xiaofei delivered a speech on behalf of MBA graduates. In the first part of her speech, she made a commentary on this day in history: June 29. The day was memorable because it was the birthday of Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, a legendary figure for her coverage of war and revolution, and her interviews with many world leaders. Greats are not accidental. Behind her questions that hit those world leaders right between the eyes was her unremitting efforts to be fully prepared. The day was also memorable because of the successful launch of DongFeng 2 intermediate-range ballistic missile, which was researched, developed and manufactured by China independently. Behind this earth-shattering success was also the conviction to be fully prepared and the resilience to recover from numerous setbacks and challenges. DONG found the relevance in her study at NSD where she rose to challenges, and bonded with the like-minded and became fully prepared to repay debt of gratitude to family and country along the way.
The EMBA graduates were represented by SHI Libin. He observed that two years in Langrun Garden bore witness to the full transformation of his fellow classmates. Together they trekked across the Gobi Desert, had face-to-face talks with the best minds, studied overseas, paid visits to outstanding Chinese enterprises, and did fair share for fighting poverty in Midu County, Yunnan Province. It is the inclusiveness championed by Peking University and the academic accomplishments made at the Langrun Garden that inspire EMBA graduates to achieve intellectual and spiritual growth, to make life worth living from the perspectives of height, breadth and depth, and to seek a way through uncertainties.
The ceremony had a special guest-Sally WU Xiaoli, deputy head of Hong Kong-based Phoenix InfoNews Channel, TV host and one of the most influential women in Chinese-language media. WU remarked that this ceremony was dedicated to preparing the graduates to make history. The graduates need to integrate their worldly pursuits with a transcendental mind, namely, a yearning for learning, curiosity and patience, cultivated at the Langrun Garden. She expressed her hope for graduates to have composure (lang) and compassion (run) indicated by the name of the Garden to embrace a beautiful life.
The commencement ceremony for the graduates of ISSCAD was hosted by YAO Yang, executive dean of ISSCAD. He gave an introduction to the institute. In September 2015, President Xi Jinping chaired the UN’s roundtable on South-South cooperation and announced that China would establish the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development. In April 2016, ISSCAD was established on the campus. Its first program was launched in September 2016. This year witnessed ISSCAD’s third commencement ceremony where 17 students were awarded Doctorate degree and 25 students granted Master’s degree.
At this ceremony, the first speaker was ZHANG Maoyu, vice-chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA). As the world landscape is undergoing profound changes, developing countries must explore development path that suits actual conditions. China is dedicated to strengthening cooperation with other developing countries. Thanks to three years of development, ISSCAD has trained students from more than 50 countries, and become an important platform for training top-notch personnel, sharing the experience in governance and shaping development philosophy. He told the graduates to regard graduation as a new starting point, engage in life-long learning to reinvent themselves endlessly, and make contribution to economic and social development in their own countries.
Professor Justin Yifu LIN, dean of ISSCAD, delivered a speech on behalf of the faculty. He told the graduates that the commencement ceremony served as an important milestone on the life journey which points to an even splendid future. President Xi Jinping, a participant of ISSCAD, asked the young people and officials in China to "remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind." Likewise, LIN told the graduates to not forget their original aspiration about studying in China, that is, learning how to drive development, create jobs, eradicate poverty and realize modernization that delivers benefits for everyone to share. Poverty is not an inescapable fate, as evidenced by China which has created economic miracles during the past forty-one years. Other developing countries can also escape poverty through their own efforts. LIN was convinced that in the future, ISSCAD would take great pride in the contributions made by the graduates to their own countries.
Prof. Justin Yifu LIN
Dr. Desta Tesfaw delivered a speech on behalf of the ISSCAD graduates. He said that as a doctoral graduate from the ISSCAD, he felt the happiness of achievements of my hard work in one hand, and he felt the responsibility, which is heavier than other responsibilities felt in the past. He acknowledged the success of his fellow graduates to the visionary leadership of China, to the professors, administrative staff, and others who are involved in the program, and also to the hospitality and helpfulness of Chinese citizens. He said that graduates will translate the knowledge and skills learned at ISSCAD to practice through greater efforts and continuous learning, and will serve as ambassadors of South-South cooperation and development for a better world in which poverty is remarkably declined, and prosperity is shared.
Dr. Desta Tesfaw
In the degree awarding session, master and doctoral candidates of ISSCAD, master and doctoral candidates, EMBA and MBA graduates, and double degree holders of NSD, took the stage in turn and posed for photos with professors. LIN and other professors awarded degrees to them, while the remaining faculty members attending the ceremony read the list of graduates. Meanwhile, ZHANG issued special certificates for ISSCAD's graduates.
A Chinese song, Ode to the Motherland, was a prelude to the end of the ceremony. All professors, graduates and their family members joined the chorus to the tune of this solemn, stirring song, expressing their love for the country and confidence in the future.
As a line in an old Chinese poem goes, “Since time immemorial, compassionate people dread the prospect of parting.” The last session was send-off ceremony where the graduates took a walk on red carpet in turn while all professors and administrative staff offered their best wishes. This is the occasion for all to taste the joy of success and sorrow of partings. Tears welled up in their eyes. But they knew this was the end of a beginning, a lifelong bond with their alma mater.