The National School of Development (NSD) and the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development (ISSCAD) at Peking University (PKU) held commencement for the Class of 2021 at the Peking University Hall on June 26, 2021.
Every year the commencement starts with taking group photos. Nearly 1,000 degree recipients of NSD, including the undergraduates majoring in economics, economics double-major undergraduates, master’s degree and doctoral degree candidates, BiMBA MBA graduates and BiMBA EMBA graduates, as well as master’s degree and PhD graduates of ISSCAD gathered at the square in front of the Peking University Hall. They have their graduation photos taken with the professors also dressed in caps and gowns.
At 8:30 am, professors and research fellows from NSD and ISSCAD mounted the rostrum amid prolonged warm applause, kicking off the Commencement for the Class of 2021.
After the short opening remarks given by Huang Yiping, Deputy Dean of NSD, all participants stood up straight and remain solemn when the national anthem was played. Prof. Huang presided over the ceremony.
Prof. Huang invited Dean of NSD, teacher representative, graduate representative and guest speaker to deliver a speech in turn.
Prof. Yao Yang, Dean of NSD and Executive Dean of ISSCAD, firstly extended a warm congratulation to all graduates, and delivered a speech themed “Finding Your Own Potential”. Starting with analyzing the meaning of the two popular buzzwords “involution” and “lying flat”, Yao gave his comments on some new phenomenon in today’s society. He pointed out that nowadays lots of graduates and young working-age adults choose the lifestyle of “lying flat” as a result of losing their motivation to strive for betterment under immense pressure. He reviewed history and focused on the reality in his speech, saying that the solution to eliminating pressure and getting rid of “involution” lies in whether the young could find their own potential and fully leverage their potential. The distinctive quality enjoyed by PKUers is that they strive to be the best of best no matter what occupation they are engaged in.
Prof. Gordon Guoen Liu, Chairperson of NSD Academic Committee and Dean of PKU Institute for Global Health and Development, gave a speech as the representative of NSD teachers. He unfolded his speech around two themes - “Teacher-Student Relationship in my Eyes” and “Positioning for China’s Economic Development and Cultural Elements”. The perfect teacher-student relation in his mind is that teacher can be lifetime friends with their students, because this is in conformity with teacher-student equality and captures the connotation of the progress of human civilization. Looking back at the day when he talked with Professor Yao Yang eight years ago about the development and positioning of NSD, he held that the research on a county’s development should be put in the context of the country’s historical process and entail a broad vision. Drawing pabulum from the civilizational achievements of all of humankind is a must for China’s revitalization, and reshifting our focus to traditional culture plays a bigger role. He pointed out that if such essence of traditional Chinese culture as “junzi”, a term used to refer to persons of high moral integrity and a Chinese philosophy transcending space and time, could be practiced in the international community, it must be conductive to making China’s wisdom to progress of humanity and national development against the backdrop of globalization.
After that, five representatives of 2021 NSD graduates delivered their speeches in turn.
Tong Chen, on behalf of the master and doctoral degrees’ recipients, shared his gains during the past five-year study at NSD from two perspectives. First, follow your heart and the examples of your teachers, and be determined to devote ourselves to academic research; second, be brave to embrace “uncertainty”, be optimistic in life, and press ahead with concrete efforts. Finally, he extended gratitude for the professional cultivation and training offered by NSD, for the care and support given by NSD teachers, and for the companions of classmates along the way.
Mo Yiqing, an undergraduate graduate, cited Mr. Liang Shuming’s words in her speech, saying that it is the motivation for betterment that inspires Liang Suming to make persistent efforts in exploring two issues: life issues and social issues or the issues facing China. She expressed her thanks for the guidance provided by NSD to motivate her to explore the same two issues, which has provided an inclusive environment for life issues, spread the seeds for exploring social issues, as well as help her find wisdom and strike a balance between the two.
When recalling the study and life in NSD, Qin Xiaoyu, a speaker on behalf of the economics double-major undergraduates, said it was her keenly-felt conviction that NSD is a place where students can have a sense of belonging, mission and responsibility, can feel warmth and surprise and can develop their ability to think independently. Due to NSD’s defining values - the the profound love for their family and their country and independent personality, she believes NSD graduates would embark on a correct path and the difference only lies in the speed of advance.
Du Zhenzhou, a representative of MBA graduates, said NSD and the Langrun Garden have given his strong spiritual support. Looking back on his MBA education, the most important lesson he learned is to embrace regret, especially accepting the changes brought about by the pandemic. At the same time, he said he still felt lucky to get involved in the great changes in this era and witnessed Chinese people’s persistence and solidarity. As a batch of NSD graduates experiencing an extraordinary era, he believes NSD graduates will burn like fire and shine like stars in the future.
The representative of EMBA graduates, Gu Hongxia, used “reborn” to describe the individual transformation she experienced during her college years at NSD. Although the journey to pursue studies, explored solutions through investigation and research, reflection and reconstruction is full of obstructions, risks, and challenges, NSD students achieved all-round development in terms of moral grounding and intellectual ability and she will cherish the memory of studying at NSD. The more important thing in the future is to pursue lifelong learning, maintain unity between knowledge and practice, and strive to better themselves. She vowed to live up to the expectation of PKU and live their life to the fullest.
During the section of hearing the keynote speech given by the guest speaker, Liu Yonghao, chairman of New Hope Group, took the stage and recalled his unforgettable memory of five visits to PKU, and sent his best wishes to all graduates. He said that as PKUers, they have got an edge at the starting line. In order to help them maintain their advantages in their future life, he would like to give three suggestions:
1. Graduation is just a new starting point in life for continuous learning, and continuous learning is also the secret to long-lasting business success;
2. Insisting on something that’s worth keeping up;
3. Do your best to be honest with others, yourself, and society throughout your life.
After Liu finished his speech, Professor Yao Yang presented him with a commemorative plaque for honoring his remarks made at the commencement.
After all speakers invited by NSD delivered their speeches, Professor Huang Yiping invited Professor Yao Yang to preside over the commencement session of ISSCAD.
The guest speakers and professors attending the commencement for ISSCAD include Zhang Maoyu, Vice Chairman of China International Development Cooperation Agency, Sun Zhonghe, Director of Academy for International Business Officials (AIBO) of MOFCOM, Justin Yifu Lin, co-founder and Honorary Dean of NSD, Dean of ISSCAD, and Dean of the Institute of New Structural Economics (INSE), Fu Jun, Academic Dean and Professor of ISSCAD, and Dr. Zhou Rongguo, graduate representative of ISSCAD.
After briefly introducing the development history of ISSCAD, Professor Yao Yang invited Zhang Maoyu, Sun Zhonghe, Justin Yifu Lin and Zhou Rongguo to give speeches in turn.
Zhang congratulated the graduates on their excellent results and extended gratitude for teachers’ hard efforts and guidance. He said that on this big occasion of NSD and ISSCAD Class of 2021 graduation, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has made great achievements over the past 100 years, and ISSCAD has produced more than 200 high-end talents from over 50 countries in the past five years. Students overcame the difficulties posed by the pandemic, continued their studies and research, and finished the dissertations; China also takes up its due responsibilities and made great contribution to winning the battle against the pandemic. He expected the graduates to be concerned about the country and the people, apply what they have learned into practice, and herald a new chapter of friendly cooperation.
Sun Zhonghe extended greetings to all ISSCAD graduates from 13 countries. He said that the outstanding students of ISSCAD graduated against the backdrop of CPC’s centenary and fifth anniversary celebration of ISSCAD. During their college years, China takes concrete actions to promote exchanges and dialogues among different civilizations and countries with various development models. As senior government officials and elite talents from various countries, the graduates are expected to apply what they have learned to helping boost the development of their motherlands, keep a close eye on China’s development and serve as friendship envoys, and make joint efforts to propel the development of human civilizations.
Professor Justin Yifu Lin delivered a speech on behalf of the faculty members. He pointed out that they should be proud of their hard-won academic achievements over the past college years. He hoped that the graduates could use the theory of comparative advantage to serve their motherlands to catch up with advanced countries and help their motherlands realize their dreams. Meanwhile, he expected them to apply what they had learned to help their countries participate in global cooperation and benefit from future development. International cooperation is the best way to deal with current and future challenges. He believed they would surely achieve greater success, and ISSCAD would celebrate their achievements and applaud their triumphs; when they face challenges ahead, ISSCAD would always be there for them through all the ups and downs.
After Professor Justin Yifu Lin finished his speech, Xia Jun from ISSCAD gave away a hand-painted portrait to him, and Zhou Jing presented a letter of thanks on behalf of the Class of 2021 to extend gratitude for teachers.
Dr. Zhou Rongguo delivered a speech on behalf of this year’s ISSCAD graduates. When he recalled his three-year studies at ISSCAD, he said they were all one big family pursuing the same goal and he would never forget the teachers’ guidance and instruction, and the long lasting love and support from his family and friends. These three years witnessed his all-round development in convictions, ideas and approaches. He believed that the ISSCAD graduates would forge ahead and strive for a better life for the next generation, for their motherlands and the people, and for the cooperation and development of their countries.
After the ISSCAD commencement speeches, Professor Yao Yang invited guests and professors leave the rostrum and prepare for solemn degree conferring ceremony. When the stage setting was being changed, music was played. The meticulously prepared graduation video “Days we spent together” used collected photos that captured students’ impressive moments remind the graduates of their best time in their youth and in PKU and presented their footmarks going on to graduate.
When graduates were waiting for their degree conferring moments in a high spirit, Professor Huang Yiping announced the beginning of the degree conferring ceremony of NSD and ISSCAD. Graduates of all degree programs received their diplomas.
Firstly, the ISSCAD doctoral and master graduates processed across the stage to receive their degrees. Professor Fu Jun announced the list of 2021 Class of doctoral and master graduates. Zhang Maoyu and Professor Justin Yifu Lin respectively conferred certificates and degrees on graduates, and took a photo with the degree recipients one by one.
The degree conferring moments for NSD undergraduates, master's degree and doctoral degree candidates, BiMBA MBA graduates and BiMBA EMBA graduates, as well as economics double-major undergraduates followed.
When conferring the degrees to PhD candidates, 10 PhD supervisors led their students to the stage one by one. Professor Justin Yifu Lin turned the tassel and took a photo with the PhD supervisors to record these big moments.
During the commencement ceremony, the names of the graduates were announced by Shen Yan, Wang Hao, Mei Liang, Zhu Li, Huang Zhuo, Fan Baoqun, Huang Zhuo, Li Lixing, Zhang Junni, Yu Changhua, Xi Tianyang one by one. Teachers including Lei Xiaoyan, Zhang Dandan, Ma Jingjing, Xu Jianguo, Xie Xuanli, Hu Ju, and Zhao Bo took turns to turn the tassel for NSD bachelor and master degrees’ recipients, BiMBA MBA graduates and BiMBA EMBA graduates, as well as economics double-major undergraduates. Yao Yang, Yu Miaojie, Liu Guoen, Xu Jintao, Chen Chunhua, Yang Zhuang, Zhang Li, Gong Yuzhen, Lei Xiaoyan, Li Ling, Lu Feng, Zhao Yaohui, Huang Zhuo, and Hu Ju conferred degrees on graduates and took a photo with them.
As for the graduates who were invited to attend this in-person commencement due to the COVID-19 reasons, their graduation photos were displayed and NSD and ISSCAD teachers announced their names. They graduated via such a virtual way. When the pandemic ends in the future, all the graduates absent from today’s in-person commencement ceremony can joint any other graduates to experience their degree conferring moments.
After the degree-awarding session concluded, Professor Yao Yang invited all professors present onto the stage, and all graduates stood up. They chorused the patriotic song Ode to the Motherland, and the strong rhythm and uplifting tune motivate the graduates to forge ahead.
The last episode of the commencement is NSD’s featured session-farewell moment. At the moment of bidding farewell, Professor Yao Yang expected the graduates could spread the NSD’s defining value - the the profound love for their family and their country and the culture of harmony in diversity, love what they would be engaged in, and make China, development countries and even the whole world a better place to live in.
Finally, the most heart-touching session arrived. All the graduates lined up, and all professors, head teachers and other administrative personnel also lined up to say good bye to their students. With emotional the walk-in music being played, graduates took turns to walked across front of the rostrum to bid farewell to their teachers. The joy of harvest was intertwined with the sadness of departure, and many graduates burst into tears.
Time flied and the NSD and ISSCAD commencement ceremony for the Class of 2021 came to an end. Carrying PKU’s wishes and expectation, as well as their memory and aspiration, the 2021 graduates run for a bright future.
After the commencement ceremony ended, all professors, research fellows and the staff involved in the preparation work and volunteers took a group photo to commemorate this big day.