Date: 2019/6/11

2019 Commencement: President Kuan on Embracing Challenges and Changes

NTU’s Commencement Ceremony for the 2018/2019 Academic Year was held on the main campus on June 1, 2019. It was a moment of joy and pride for all the graduating students, as they gathered to celebrate their accomplishments at NTU and look forward to more in the future. At the ceremony, NTU President Chung-Ming Kuan (管中閔) extended his heartfelt congratulations to all the graduates and encouraged them to embrace challenges and changes awaiting them after graduation.

In his commencement address, President Kuan reflected on the major economic, cultural, and political events around the world in the past decade from 2010-2019, expecting another even faster-changing decade ahead. Back in 2010, the world just experienced a major financial crisis, and the Eurozone was hit hard by the sovereign debt crisis—all these seemed to imply a faltering economy in the West. In terms of international politics, President Kuan cited the Arab Spring movement propelled by social media and smartphones, the popularization of sharing economy (e.g., Uber), the launch of Coursera by Stanford professors, and the establishment of g0v by NTU students. These events marked a unanimous call for more participation and openness, both political and social, around the globe.

However, as these innovations continued to emerge and change the world, bringing convenience and progress, they also inflict sorrow on some. When Western economy showed signs of amelioration, a photo capturing the death of the three-year-old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, on September 2 in 2015, shocked the world. Moreover, the Arab Spring movement did not come out well for all. For example, Syria, one of the participating countries, has since been caught in long-term civil war, which forced its people to flee from home in destitution and despair.

In the past four years, the world has seen even more changes. The international economic order is being reshaped amid the upheavals entailed by Brexit and the US-China trade war. Several areas ranging from Eastern Europe to South China Sea were still on the verge of political chaos and military conflict. Meanwhile, innovative technologies realized in such areas as robotics and artificial intelligence are creating new economic, financial, educational, and information models. These new models have impacted the daily life of most people around the globe, and are fundamentally changing our social structure and political system.

It takes a decade for one to grow from an unsophisticated adolescent to a knowledgeable youth. While sharing the joy of the graduating students, President Kuan also showed concern and mixed feelings over what lies ahead for them. By citing these critical events, he reminded the graduates to expect a fast- and ever-changing world, urging them to embrace challenges and changes that lead to infinite possibility. President Kuan encouraged the newly fledged graduates to stay true to themselves, take the courage to confront established practices and rules when necessary, and show the determination to change themselves and society. He also expected them to become change-driving leaders who make the world a better place in the next decades.

  • Commencement address by President Kuan.

    Commencement address by President Kuan.

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