My hearty graduations to all the graduating students. Today is a big day for you and your parents. I apologise for not being able to see you in person but I am very sure that you and your parents are all smiling today. 

I would like also to congratulate President Tang Tao. This is the first commencement Professor Tang presides over as UIC President. You are very very lucky to have President Tang to lead UIC. He brings vitality and dynamism to UIC. Fifteen years ago when UIC admitted the first batch of students, Beijing Normal University and Hong Kong Baptist University made UIC proud. Today UIC made Hong Kong BU very very proud. Congratulations President Tang. Also I would like to extend my appreciation to Professor CF Ng, who founded UIC and built this beautiful campus for all of our students.

I am sure you will never forget your hard work at UIC. You will miss the joy of discovery, you will miss the fun of learning, you will miss all your teachers, you will miss the friendships of all your classmates, you will miss those crazy things and foolish things that you did together with your friends. The memory of UIC will forever be part of you.

You are now in transition from UIC to the world. Your world is in transition too, from an old world to a new unknown world, from an old normal to a new normal. Gone were the days when your world was full of certainties and opportunities when university graduates, like you, gone were the days when you can almost predict when you will get your next postgraduate degrees overseas, when you will start your career to be a corporate executive and when you will get married.

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Only months ago, your biggest headache was about which overseas university to go to for your masters or PhD or which company you should choose to start your career. Then all of a sudden all these have vanished like a dream. Everything becomes uncertain. The news reported that the United States is set to expel Chinese research students in high tech disciplines. The news headline also said our Ministry of Education has issued safety warnings against Chinese students studying in some Western universities like (in) Australia. In addition, worldwide unemployment rates has skyrocketed. Millions of university graduates will have to brace themselves (for) unemployment in the coming months or even years. On top of that, social unrests are all over the world. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to last for a few more years. Security risk and health risk has prohibited travelling and mobility. Our way of living, learning, shopping, social interaction and travelling has changed forever. 

Your world has turned upside down. But your world now is not so different from my world when I was about your age. 50 years ago, I went to the United States to study, it was 1970. I remember two major developments on an epic scale that had turned my world upside down. Let me tell you the first world event, when I was little, the former Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik, the world first satellite into earth orbits, the United States responded by inventing the internet to communicate between computers instead of by telephone or telegram to overcome communication blackouts in the event of a space war between the Soviet Union and the United States. The first internet communication took place in 1969 when a computer in UCLA sent a ‘hello’ to a computer in Stanford Research Institute. That turned my world upside down. It lead the way to huge technological advances such as the internet, GPS, smartphones, it also brought us the dark side of the web such as social media bullying, data hacking, and false news. 

Now the second world event I want to tell you, a few years before I went to the United States, the former Soviet Union sent the first man to orbit the world in a spaceship; that is in 1961. The United States responded by sending a man to the moon in 1969; that again turned my world upside down. It extended the Cold War to space war and the nuclear arm race, during those turbulent years there was also the Vietnam War and worldwide social unrest such as the massive anti-war protest in the West; students in Kent State University were shot dead by the US National Guard for example, that was my world when I was your age. 

Now 50 years later, you are experiencing a very similar situation also on an epic scale. For example, Huawei launched 5G, the United States launched a technology war on IC chips then followed by a trade war. I am sure the Cold War between China and the United States will follow soon, perhaps also the internet war and the AI war. In addition, the world is on fire. Major protests are sweeping around the globe right now, for example the “I cannot breathe” civil right movement in the United States, the Yellow Vest Movement in France, the social unrest in Hong Kong, the social unrest and protest in the Philippines, Chile in South America etc. History always repeats itself.

You must be very frustrated by the never ending uncertainties of your world. You cannot control and you cannot predict COVID-19 pandemic, you cannot plan your future with any uncertainty and instead, you need to plan and make decision with incomplete, inaccurate and ever changing information. 

I have total faith that you will do well in your upside down world. You graduated from UIC that means you have a high IQ and high EQ, so I am not worried about your IQ or EQ; instead I want to talk to you about your CQ. Most of you come from one child families, your whole extended family pin their hope on you that is a huge burden. You have to do better than the rest, you have to excel, you have to win, you have to be super competitive, at times self-centred, at times very lonely. That’s why I want to talk to you about your CQ that is, Collaborative Quotient. Imagine how beautiful it would be if China and the United States would collaborate in good faith and trust, collaborate in climate change, collaborate in addressing social inequality and collaborate in the war against COVID-19. 

Collaboration promises a better world for all. What applies to China and the United States apply equally to all of us as an individual. In this new world of complexity and uncertainty, a common missing key personality is collaboration. Collaboration is not just asking someone to work with you so that you could succeed. Collaboration is to uplift and enrich each other. Collaboration is to understand and appreciate diversity, collaboration means coming out of your social media world, which you include a small circle of friends who all share your same belief and the same ideology. Collaboration is to tolerate other opposing views, collaboration is to engage constructive dialogue with those you dislike. Collaboration requires you to cast away the “I am always right” mind-set and to shake off the “You against me, them against us” mentality. Please be reminded that your world is also their world, and their world is also the same as our world. It is unfortunate that our world lacks citizens with high CQ, as UIC grad

uates I hope all of you have a high CQ. Your world needs better understanding and continuing dialogue amongst people and between countries. 

As UIC graduates and using your high CQ, you need to play a role to change the world. A world that everybody holds dear as our world, we all have high hope in you and best of luck for your transition into this new world of ours.

Thank you and congratulations.


听写:Samuel Burgess   王嘉祺