Graduation address given by Datuk Rafiah Salim

Datuk Rafiah Salim, Vice-Chancellor, University of Malaya, gave the following occasional address at the University of Sydney graduation held on 20 September 2006 in Kuala Lumpur.

Professor Hearn with the guest speaker Graduation ceremony
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International), Professor
John Hearn (left) with guest speaker Datuk
Rafiah Salim, photo, International Office
Datuk Rafiah Salim's address,
photo, International Office

Graduation address

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim. Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

Professor John Hearn, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International), University of Sydney;
Faculty members;
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

I would like to thank the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Sydney, Professor Gavin Brown for inviting me to this auspicious occasion.

Graduation is a time for celebration. The graduates are happy because they have successfully completed their courses and they can make their parents proud. The parents are happy and relieved that their investments are beginning to bear fruits. The University is pleased to have had a chance to make a difference in the lives of their students and to increase their alumni number. To all students, parents and the University of Sydney, my heartiest congratulations.

Earning a degree is an important landmark in one’s life, but the real test to a graduate is what he or she makes of the lessons learnt during the pursuit of that degree.

Given that there are thousands of graduates passing out of Universities, is it possible to stand a head above all others? We are different people with different talents and inclinations, hopes and aspirations. To make one’s mark, we have to take risks, innovate and adjust accordingly based on the scenarios we face. Should we miss an opportunity or make a mistake, it is not a failure nor the end of the world. It is life’s lessons to be learnt.

I would say that in this globalized world where change is the only constant, the way forward is to embrace diversity in the people you associate with, your work mates and your friends. Our interaction with them will enrich our lives and reaching out to those who profess different cultures, religions and world views will certainly enhance our own place in humanity.

A man or a woman who has a high level of personal confidence, a strong sense of self awareness and identity, and knowledge of the job will go out and face the world and create allies with all that he or she meets. Should you choose to work for others or to be your own boss, should you choose to work in Malaysia or to depart for distant shores, I urge you to continue searching and innovating. It is our own minds and thinking that brings us to greater heights. We have to continuously learn, unlearn and re-learn so that our organizations will become thriving learning entities and capable of reinventing themselves whatever the challenges. This is the only way to remain relevant.

The degree you received today is one of the doors to the future. You will be opening a lot of other doors to other ventures. One day you will be parents too and you will send your children to the University of Sydney (and the University of Malaya), and be proud of your children’s success: just as your parents have loved and guided you. All parents want their children to be happy and successful. The family is the only single factor that is constant in your life. Family members are always there for you.

With passion for what you do, a balanced life style and a positive outlook, you will live a rewarding and enriched life. You will touch many more lives and this gives meaning to your reason for being.

Once again heartiest congratulations to every one.

Thank you.

Wabillahitaufik Walhidayah Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.