2019 Commencement Speaker: Dr. Allen Chia En Lien on Saying “Yes” to Life
The guest invited to deliver the commencement speech at NTU this year was Dr. Allen Chia En Lien (連加恩). After graduating from the School of Medicine at National Yang-Ming University, Dr. Lien took a road less traveled and served his military duty as a diplomat in Burkina Faso for Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His contributions in Burkina Faso and there on have been recognized and applauded internationally. In the commencement speech at NTU, he shared the “several YESes in his life” with the graduating students. The sincerity and humor in his speech sparked smiles and laughs in the attentive audience.
1. Say “Yes” to Roads Less Taken
Dr. Lien regarded the diplomatic service in Burkina Faso as the biggest turning point and life-changing event in his life. He was among the first group of youths to opt for this service that year.
2. Say “Yes” to Go The Extra Mile
Dr. Lien found that Burkina Faso needed assistance not only in public health and medicine, but also in education. Though not assigned with this task, he helped the locals establish an orphanage, which now takes care of more than 100 children every year.
3. Say “Yes” to a Bit More Troubles
Dr. Lien’s experience told him to always choose the more difficult road, as it guarantees a more fruitful future, as well as thought-provoking stories to tell. He also enjoys seeing how his experience may encourage and serve as blessings to the youth.
4. Say “Yes” to Empathy and Compassion
While serving as a diplomat in Africa, Dr. Lien helped the South African government invite a Taiwanese professor to give a speech on health insurance planning in the country. Although Dr. Lien gained the professor’s consent in going to South Africa and joining a local research project, they were however rejected by the project at the final moment due to political reasons. Nonetheless, Dr. Lien gave the professor a YES when asked whether the visit to South Africa for the speech should still continue. Later, South African officials thanked and told Dr. Lien how this speech had saved their country.
5. Say “Yes” to Lifetime Learning
At age 41, with more responsibilities on his shoulders, Dr. Lien returned to school to pursue further studies. But nothing is unconquerable in Dr. Lien’s mind. “As long as you’re younger than me and do not have to raise five kids, you have no excuse for not engaging in lifetime learning,” said Dr. Lien.
Finally, Dr. Lien encouraged the graduates to “Say ‘Yes’ to Lean In and Lean On,” for everyone needs a lifeline during times of hardship. For him, the best way to weather hard times and extreme stress is pray. Congratulating the graduates on their achievements, Dr. Lien told them that every life is a beautiful gift—“Life is Good, Enjoy”!