This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending The George Washington University’s Commencement where our First Lady Michelle Obama addressed graduating seniors. Not only did Mrs. Obama earn her Doctor of Public Service, congratulate graduating seniors on their four years of accomplishments and reward them for overextending themselves in her request to complete 100,000 hours of community service by May 1, but she also spoke on the importance of a multi-faceted, world-focused education.
In September Mrs. Obama challenged GW students to complete 100,000 hours of community service in the greater DC area. If they did, she would speak at their commencement. GW students rose to the challenge and contributed more than 163,000 hours of community service in Washington DC, throughout the United States and abroad.
Because of the impact made by these students Mrs. Obama went on to relate our generation to a Haitian proverb: “little by little, the bird builds its nest.” By this she means that however eager we are to make change in the world, we understand the importance of immersing ourselves both locally and globally. Our generation has seen many things, it is strong, wise and realistic. It knows that in order to maintain peace we must not isolate ourselves from the other side of the world. “It’s in our best interest to look beyond our immediate self-interest, and look out for one another globally.”
Despite the incentive for the First Lady as your Commencement speaker, the lesson to become a globally-minded human being is one not limited to one individual, group or university. It is not limited to an age or major (in fact the oldest person serving in the Peace Corps currently is 85 years old). You simply must be young at heart and prepared to learn. A beautiful, mind-opening journey can begin anywhere and anytime; all you have to do is seek it out.
For a full written version of Dr. Obama’s speech visit: http://bit.ly/aw3RQG