Executive President’s Graduation 2017 Commencement Address

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Embrace Uncertainty

Dear fellow students,

In the season of robes and mortarboards, many of you might feel ill at ease, wondering which offer to choose from. Should I enter the job market, or go to graduate school to further my education? What challenges will I face at the office or in graduate school? Will I have to leave my sweetheart?

You’ll see - many more uncertainties await you!

Uncertainty is practically the word of our times - uncertainty with Trump, Brexit, the Middle East, etc.

Really, whether you like it or not, uncertainty will be the ‘new normal’ in the future. You will face it throughout your life. But it does not always bring stress and hardship, it can also bring new opportunities. It all depends on how you look at it. Can you ‘surf’ on the ‘waves’ of uncertainty?

If you have a positive attitude, uncertainty means opportunity. If you are strong and tough, uncertainty can bring you a new undertaking. It works that way on a geopolitical level too. With so much uncertainty around the world, people now look to China for stability. And it is China’s view of human communities, coupled with its strength and sustainable development that inject stability into an uncertain world.

An interesting video has been circulating on the internet recently. In it, 20 foreign exchange students in China were asked to choose the four most important recent technological developments in China. They chose e-commerce, mobile phone payments, high-speed rail and bike-sharing.

Nowadays, you can buy sweet potatoes at Wenxing Square by scanning a QR code. Professor Goodman, a famous scholar of China Studies, told me of his experiences on the ‘Fuxing’ high speed rail. He was impressed by the speed and comfort, hailing it as the ‘Chinese standard,’ calling it a genuine Chinese creation. Not to mention, all the e-commerce and information sharing that you cannot live without…

What we learn from this video is that to succeed and stand out in this uncertain world, you need to stand out on your own, to stake your claim in a place that others still have to clamor for.

After graduating, you will no doubt be surrounded by cheer, jubilation and words of congratulations, including from myself. But at the same time, in the face of the uncertainty of the world into which you are about to embark, I tell you to embrace it! It is a foreordination for XJTLUers to pursue our ultimate goal: ‘happy life and successful career’. I believe firmly that after being ‘baptised’ as ‘young adults’ and ‘global citizens’ at XJTLU, you have been cultivated with a go-getter attitude that welcomes uncertainty.

Through an international, east-meets-west education experience, you have the skills for lifelong learning to tackle the uncertainty of the world. XJTLU has already given you a competitive advantage. You have an awareness of being a world citizen, you have a seasoned professional capacity in Chinese and English, you have a complexity mindset that incorporates western efficiency with eastern holistic thinking, you have cross-cultural leadership capacity that accommodates multiple environments and cultures, and comprehensive training that you received at XJTLU. You will all be like ducks to water as you go into the world.

There is another interesting video on the web. A Korean professor did a survey of Chinese youth born in the 1990s. He found that the current environment in China has cultivated in young people a sense of entrepreneurship and a willingness to take risks, not fearing failure. For example, he found that young Chinese and American are willing to fail 2.89 times on average, compared to 1.3 times on average among young Korean and Japanese, which also means that young Chinese are allowed to fail 2.9 times when starting up a business in China. In addition, he also found that Chinese youth born in the 1990s were relatively free-minded, and were always at the cutting edge technologically. Compared with American, Japanese and Korean youth, Chinese have a more optimistic view of their future. They are constantly striving to realize their dreams. In this sense, they are the most ‘feared’ generation of Chinese!

Dear students, you are lucky to be young in this age. This complex and unstable world, in its waves of development, has given you a once in a lifetime opportunity. A rising China and a world class education at XJTLU have instilled courage and strength in you in the face of an uncertain world.
Young people, even though you may be inexperienced, I can still see your potential. I hope you are full of courage to face the times you are in! You should boldly embrace uncertainty! Go out into the world, and pursue your dream of becoming ‘Global Players’!

You are still young. What are you waiting for?

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