Messages at the Ceremony
by Professor Christine Ennew
Let me begin my speech by offering all of our graduands my sincere congratulations. Today is a day for you, your friends and your families to celebrate your remarkable achievements. You have experienced a competitive selection process, an intensive programme of study, challenging assessments and have managed all of these pressures while continuing to sustain and develop your own demanding careers. I’m sure your friends and family will be particularly celebrating that fact, and having supported you throughout your course of study, you will now have a bit more time to spend with them.
It is also a special occasion for those who have taught you and those who have supported you during your time with U21Global, to celebrate. For anyone who works in a University, graduation is a particularly satisfying occasion. They too have worked hard to support you in achieving your goals and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them on your behalf.
Education has many purposes:
- For some it satisfies a genuine desire to acquire skills and knowledge for their own sake and for the personal satisfaction that they bring
- But education also challenges us and forces us to think about new issues and new problems and to think about them in different and more productive ways
- And the knowledge and skills acquired through education enable us to contribute more fully and more effectively to the organisations in which we operate. In so doing, it enhances the individual’s career opportunities and the our organisation’s potential
Today, you codify these benefits through the formal award of a qualification.
Education in all its forms has a genuinely transformational quality; it transforms individuals and it transforms societies in which those individuals function, contributing to material gains in terms of economic, social and personal well being.
Societies across the world are striving to increase participation in education at all levels to support their growth and development. But postgraduate qualifications remain a privilege that are available to a select group of individuals worldwide. You have worked hard to join that select group.
You are receiving your award from a dynamic, enterprising and innovative academic institution that aims to set new standards in global education. U21Global is distinguished by its unique online environment, which is being backed by some of the world’s leading Universities, including my own. You have had the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge that provide the foundations for successful careers in management roles.
And you have acquired these by studying in a global online environment. In taking this route, you have demonstrated your commitment to learning and your openness to innovation. Your experience with U21Global will provide you with a distinctive set of competencies that will serve you well in a globalised society where the ability to function in a virtual environment may be as important as your ability to operate face to face.
We trust that your U21Global degree, and the knowledge and skills that you have developed will stand you in good stead for many career moves ahead. You have joined that group of individuals called global citizens who are sensitive to other cultures and races, to the differences between them, and to the opportunities and resources that others do not have. You can use your global education to help you as an individual to get on more quickly in this international arena. You can use it to help your company increase its global capital. But, let me leave you with a comment from Bill Gates, which was made at a another graduation ceremony, and leave you to ponder whether these goals adequately define your future role as a global citizen and an alumnus of U21Global...
He said, and I quote again "...I hope you will judge yourselves not on your professional accomplishments alone, but also on how well you have addressed the world's deepest inequities, and on how well you treated people a world away who have nothing in common with you but their humanity."
My congratulations to you on your degree. May you use your newly acquired knowledge and skills wisely.
by Professor Wing Lam
Graduates and distinguished guests
Today is a day of celebration. I would like to congratulate the graduates of 2009 on reaching a major milestone of achievement. For some, the journey has been longer than others, particularly for our MMIT and MBA graduates, who have had to endure what I’m sure must have been much personal sacrifice away from family and friends.
Everyone has personal memories of their time at college or university. When I graduated with my PhD some 15 years ago, one of the things that I remember most vividly is how incredibly painful it was to write a 140,000 word thesis. I’m sure it was as equally painful for the professors who had to read it.
In 15 years time, when you see the certificate you are about to receive today, proudly hung up on the wall, what will you remember about your learning experience at U21Global? Will it be countless late nights you spent logging into the learning system burning the midnight oil? Or will it be the online discussion boards and the anticipation of seeing who has responded to your postings? Perhaps it will be the quirky professor you got to know quite well even though you never physically met. Or maybe it is the network of fellow students you interacted with who happen to live on the other side of the planet but are now only a click away as friends on Facebook. Or could it be the mad rush of submitting your OBOW exam paper at precisely 23 hours and 59 minutes on the dot, just before the deadline is up.
Or maybe, it is quite simply, the sheer satisfaction of having accomplished something significant based on your own determination and merit.
Ladies and gentleman, in 15 years time, the world might be a very difficult place to what it is now. Arguably the single most significant development that has happened over the last 50 years has been globalization. Thomas Friedman wrote an international best-selling book in 2005 entitled ‘The World is Flat’. In his book, he talked about the need for companies and individuals to remain competitive in a global market where geographical divisions and boundaries are becoming less relevant.
Let me give you a few recent examples of globalization. When Lehman Brothers in the US was declared bankrupt in November 2008, financial institutions around the world panicked to see how much of their own capital had been contaminated by Lehman’s toxic assets. In Singapore, a 72-year old grandmother and hundreds of other Singaporeans lost substantial amounts of their savings through the purchase of Lehman bonds. Two months after the first case of swine flu was detected in Mexico in April, 74 countries have since officially reported a total of almost 30,000 cases. The end result is a global pandemic. We all know of course that computer viruses spread even faster. Harnessing the power of the Internet, President Barrack Obama used globalization to reach out to millions of Americans around the world, to spread his message for presidency. The rest, as they say, is history.
The world is indeed flat, but not only that, it is getting flatter and more tightly inter-connected. Globalisation affects us all in one way or another. We now talk about the global economic downturn, the global financial crisis, the global pandemic, global warming, the global war on terror. Even the American Idol has become a global phenomenon.
And of course, let us not forget, there is global education, which neatly brings us back to you as graduates from U21Global
When the presidents and Vice-Chancellors of the U21 universities set up U21Gobal 8 years ago, they knew that globalization would gradually begin to change the education landscape. This is not to say that existing brick-and-mortar universities will become less relevant, far from it, but that the ivy league would now have to compete with the innovation league, a new breed of academic institution offering powerful new learning experiences that would appeal to those who wish to be part of a global student community rather than a localized one. U21Global is of course, one such pioneering institution, and as I look around this room today, I see global education in action.
Make no mistake about it, while the long and distinguished heritage of the U21 member universities serves as the foundation for academic quality, U21Global is a dynamic, enterprising academic institution that aims to set new standards in global education.
However, the truth of the matter is that the reputation of any institution rests largely on one important factor – namely, the quality of the graduates that it produces. So as you collect your hard-earned certificate today, remember that, in 15 years from now, the true value of U21Global is not so much about what we do as an institution, but what you do out there as a U21Global graduate. I hope you will be successful in making your mark in whatever endeavor you chose to pursue.
Congratulations once again, and thank you.
by Mr Klaus Werner Pfeifer
Distinguished guests, fellow graduates, Prof Lam, professors, family and friends! It gives me great pleasure to be in your midst today, the Graduation Class of 2012, and undoubtedly, a huge honor to receive the Academic Excellence Award.
I’m rather excited to actually see many of my fellow students in person, for the first time. We all have had exhaustive online conversations over the years. Together we streamlined businesses, devised new strategies, created business models and marketing plans and saved corporations from going out of business. Well done everyone! I am so proud to be one amongst you all.
I chose the U21 MBA course as I am frequently travelling and when I signed up to the course I had just moved from Frankfurt to Hong Kong and did not know how long I was supposed to run operations there. So I needed a course that could accommodate my schedule and provide me flexibility on time and geography.
I remember me, during a holiday with my family, sitting on a terrace in Tuscany, debating about the internet industry in China, with an Italian who at that time was located in Beijing. I will not repeat my wife’s comments on this in front of this audience.
But what this – and similar experiences – made me realize was that, in our globalised world, with such advanced technology and modernized communication tools, geographical boundaries no longer exist and hardly matter. This may sound quite cliché, but yes, we can make things happen from any place at any time.
My main motivation for taking the MBA course was to better understand business processes, strategic thinking and get more insights on how to run businesses better. To get the most out of these courses, I made it a conscious practice to link everything theoretical to my actual everyday business issues and challenges.
On the Capstone Project for example, I researched organizational and cultural differences between the US and Korean firms, and the outcome turned out to be very helpful in an ongoing acquisition of a Korean company.
As we all know it takes a high level of persistence to complete the 17 modules and arrive at this event today. Countless nights and weekends have been dedicated to achieve this goal. All fellow graduates have demonstrated a high level of self motivation and energy. I personally think that this is also a distinguishing feature in today’s work life – an addition to everyone’s “value proposition”.
Many of us would not be here today without the support of our families and friends. So I would like to thank my wife and my daughter for their support during this time and the professors for guiding me through this journey. I would also like to thank my fellow students who brought in a huge diversity of cultural and business backgrounds and from which I could learn a lot.
In closing, I would like to wish all of you the very best for your future and all success.
by Mr Yoong Yuen Chien, Raphael
A Very Good Afternoon to our esteemed Guest-of-Honor, Dean, Vice-Dean and to my fellow graduands, your families and friends who are here to celebrate this happy occasion.
My warmest congratulations to my fellow graduands who made the commitment to complete their journey with U21Global and have now arrived at today’s very significant milestone. And, of course, a big, warm thank you to U21Global, our professors and the supporting staff for making our journey and achievements possible.
We all have our objectives and motivations for pursuing our further studies. And, our reasons for choosing and committing to U21Global. Today’s graduation ceremony bears strong testimony that our goals, decisions and commitments were correct; that our efforts and sacrifices to complete our journey of learning, discovery and growing have been, in sum total, worth it. And, today is a good time to recall and reflect why and how we took the leap of faith to pursue and complete our journey.
What are your objectives, motivations and reasons for your learning and discovery with U21Global? And, your commitment to complete your own journey? No matter how challenging they were I think it is important and meaningful that we pause to recall and reflect on them.
On my part, I had been thinking for a long time about pursuing a Master’s program, relevant to my nature of work and interests. It was 5 years ago, in 2007, that I got serious enough and made a decision. I was 45 years young then and only growing younger! I felt the strong need to refresh myself and to gain new knowledge, in a holistic, structured yet well-paced manner. I felt the need to be better able to perform and contribute at my work. And, to be better prepared for new ventures that could come my way.
I looked around for suitable programs. Fortunately, I came across the eye-catching advertisements of U21Global’s offerings in The Straits Times. Attended just one briefing session in late December and I was sold, lock-stock-and-barrel, to taking up the MMIT program with U21Global. It was classic, great value proposition – interesting range of subjects, intriguing manner of on-line lessons and learning, and the reasonably flexible arrangements.
I took the leap of faith, made time and effort. Started in 2008 and completed my MMIT program last year. Here I am today, all of 50, looking back with relief and feeling very happy. I am not sure if would have learnt and gained as much as I did if I had taken up a similar program with other schools.
I wonder what your thoughts were before you started on your courses of studies. Perhaps, wondering how easy or challenging things will be. As I got ready to start my journey, I was intrigued by the School’s online manner of instructions and learning. I thought it would be a walk a in the park - going about studying and completing the various subjects for my MMIT program. But, it proved to be absolutely otherwise.
Well, it was not to be a leisurely walk in the park. But a leap of faith into a deep forest, a marathon of no turning back – in a lush, tough forest of learning and discovery, along with its full range of surprises, encounters and experiences of joys, frustrations and relief.
The study of the lessons was the easier part. The tougher but more enjoyable part was the class discussions; where we were required to reflect, apply and share what we learnt, to interact with our invisible course professors and class-mates. Then, there were the team assignments and projects that had to be cobbled together, one way or another, and submitted on time and in good shape. And, finally, the seemingly impossible task of completing our examinations, of submitting our reports within a 24-hour period. After each examination, I experienced the same mixed feelings of state of shock and relief.
As I looked back, it was more than sensible and sometimes panicky time management that saw me through. It was also about managing my pace and priorities. I decided not to rush but to take one subject at a time, to give the learning process enough time, space and depth. And, since I paid for my own school fees, committing my efforts to learn and contribute meaningfully in the discussions and assignments took top priority. It sure was a tough balancing act, juggling with the demands of work responsibilities. A conducive home environment and a supportive wife certainly helped. Of course, encouraging and positive interactions with the dedicated professors and the hard-working class-mates helped to keep me going.
Each of you had your unique journey and experiences. You can look back with pride and relief that all your hard work had been worth it. It is not just new knowledge that we have gained but also how we have benefited from the rich experiences from our studies.
Moving forward, let us make the commitment and take the effort to meaningfully apply the knowledge and lessons we learnt from our subjects and experiences – in our work and, where possible, also in our lives in general. Let us also strive to live up to the happy spirit of life-long learning, unlearning and relearning – to stay constantly refreshed, to be fully alive and fully human, enjoying our lives and sharing our lives meaningfully.
Let us also pause to warmly thank our loved ones and friends who are with us here today, our families, friends and colleagues who supported us. Of course, let us thank U21Global, our course professors and the supporting staff.
I stand before you humbly honored to have made this graduation speech. It has been one fantastic voyage. It was good and great while the journey of learning, discovery and growing lasted. U21Global certainly offered all of us a compelling proposition to our goals for further studies. Let us wish U21Global continuing success in her unique offerings of learning and discovery. Finally, I wish all of you the very best for your lives, works and pursuits.
Closing of Ceremony
by Mr Ian Marshman
Graduates, Families & Friends of Graduates and other Distinguished Guests,
In closing this wonderful and memorable occasion, I want to make a few brief comments.
First, I want to add my own congratulations to every graduate who has received an award this afternoon. Studying for any award requires enormous dedication, a lot of hard work and many personal sacrifices. This is doubly so when one is already busy in employment and has a range of family and other commitments. Each of you who has graduated today deserves special recognition for what you have achieved. Well done.
Secondly, I want on behalf of all graduates to say a public thank you to each of your members of family and friends who are here today for all the support they have given and for the sacrifices they have had to allow you to study for your award. It is pleasing to see so many family and friends here today. Thank you for your support.
Thirdly, I want to reinforce the fact that the awards conferred today are a reflection of the increasing globalisation and connectivity that is gathering more and more momentum throughout the world. The learning you have undertaken and the method of its delivery are at the forefront of this global trend. Your studies will equip you to become leaders in an increasingly digitally connected world.
Fourthly, I want to remind you that U21 Global has been a pioneer in educational innovation for more than a decade. Over this period it has been uniquely enriched by the diverse perspectives that only 10,000 students from 72 countries can bring. It has delivered high quality online graduate programs quality assured by some of the world’s leading universities. Over this period it has built a strong academic reputation in its own right.
This reputation will serve you well in your future careers.
Finally, congratulations once again. I hereby declare today’s graduation ceremony closed.