Autumn Conferrings 2006
Devere Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn, UCC, 15 MFómh 2006
Professor Enda McDonagh, Chair of Governing Body, UCC
The Citizen Graduate
You could hardly wait for the day and now it's practically all over. Well not quite.The celebrations will go on into this night and beyond.The records and the memories will persist much longer.Even the outfits, at least for the women-graduates will provide a reminder and a reminder of what you completed this day and what your mentors and minders together with your families and friends join in congratulating and rejoicing.Let no solemn faced speaker conscious of perhaps further future prospects and challenges take from that.Let joy prevail.
No sooner said than qualified by some fleeting attention to the grander dimensions of this day.Graduates and grateful for it but also citizen-graduates and ready for it!Graduate of UCC, citizen of Cork, Ireland, and more significantly for the future, citizen of the world, of the increasingly one world.
A matter for rejoicing and celebration also.As a citizen, like Paul of Tarrsus, of no mean city, you are simultaneously a citizen of no mean world, but of a wonderfully rich and diverse world whose landscapes and seascapes, peoples and cultures are becoming day-by-day part of your glorious inheritance.In various ways your university studies have helped you to understand and enter more fully into this one world, to enjoy and celebrate it, and to share its riches and responsibilities - to become truly world citizens with the special privileges and tasks of your higher education and impending professional occupations.To ensure this is a world to continue to enjoy and not to destroy, the insights and skills of its citizen-graduates will be essential and will no doubt be carried by some of you from UCC to the sea of China, from Baltimore, Co. Cork to Baltimore, Maryland, from Kerry to Kinshasa.For others in turn the Sea of China, Baltimore US and Kinshana in the Democratic Republic of Congo will become part of their local world through myriad contacts and conversations.What a splendid prospect!!!And all yours but not without effort, the kind of effort that led to graduating to-day will be needed for entry into world-citizenship tomorrow.
A few thoughts on the efforts of graduates may yield fresh print for the benefit of all their fellow-citizens of the world, at home as well as abroad.
They will do this only if they maintain and develop their curiosity about the world, which their studies have helped to stimulate and train.Such curiosity will ensure that the citizen-graduates learn more of their one world, appreciate and enjoy it more.It also helps them to conserve it where threatened as it is by diseases, such as HIV-AIDS, war, pollution and climate change.
A global citizen-graduate will go beyond learning and enjoying to help at home with the many ills of our own society and abroad, either directly by working in developing countries or indirectly by supporting organisations such as Trocaire, The Rose Project, Concern and others.
The agenda facing global citizen-graduates is huge.Each can only contribute a little but each one's little is very important. So in the midst of to-day's well justified celebrations, you might tuck in the back of your minds and hearts the thought of adding some engagement, however small, with the great causes of peace and justice and environment protection to the undoubtedly busy personal and professional lives you will face in the years ahead.To the distinction of graduate of UCC the badge of active global citizen will enhance your life as a whole and provide new occasions of celebration in the future.But for today let the revels predominate and congratulations be generously offered and gratefully received.
Beir bua agus beannacht.