Today is a great moment in your life. In the special period, I’m very glad to attend this graduation ceremony with all of you, to witness the moment that you embark on a new journey. First, on behalf of SLU, I’d like to extend our warm congratulations to all of the graduates of 2020 who have completed their education successfully. Then, I’d like to extend sincere gratitude to all the teachers and families who have been supporting your growth and progress.
Over the past four years, you witnessed the ninety-year history of splendid development of our university, the moment that our university was included in the list of pilot universities for construction of high-level local application-oriented universities in Shanghai, the successful commencement of construction of a new campus in Pudong New Area, and the moment that an affiliated school was officially unveiled. At the time of parting, although most of graduates cannot return to attend the solemn graduation ceremony, get together to say goodbye to each other or take photos in graduation gowns and mortarboards, our university has always been concerned about all departing students and has great expectations for your future.
Each generation of young people have their own historic opportunities. You are chosen by the times. Nowadays, China is experiencing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation while the world is experiencing unprecedented changes that have never been seen in a century. You’re standing at the intersection of the two situations. Although there are unprecedentedly bright prospects for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, we’ve been in a dilemma that the forward path becomes harder while we have to boldly move forward. It’s an arduous task to further deepen reform and opening-up. Meanwhile, since the world is experiencing unprecedented changes that have never been seen in a century, the instability and uncertainty faced by the world becomes more prominent and the road to the future imply both important opportunities and great challenges. Thus, you have to learn one more lesson than your predecessors. In other words, you have to learn how to face the rapidly changing world and how to deal with sudden adversity.
You are also favored by the times. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Party and the government have attached great importance to your employment. General Secretary Xi Jinping gave a series of important directions, requiring all competent departments concerned to take measures to promote the employment of such groups as college graduates, and Premier Li Keqiang also made a series of special arrangements. The government work report of this year mentioned “employment” 39 times and placed “stabilizing employment and guaranteeing livelihood” in a prominent position. Li Qiang, secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee, stressed that all competent departments concerned must do a good job in promoting the employment of college graduates and take measures to introduce talents. Our university held a dozen of employment work meetings, launched a series of online job fairs, improved the back-to-school internship program for graduates and the industry-university-research base program, and exploited the external and internal resources to provide accurate guidance with respect to job opportunities for you, so as to promote full employment with higher quality.
Furthermore, you’re placed with great expectations by the times. You’re lucky enough to live in times like these, and you’re also a boon to the times. In the current context, the need of the Party and country’s undertaking development for scientific knowledge and excellent talents is more urgent than ever before. In a reply to the 90s of Beijing University’s medical team supporting COVID-19 containment in Hubei Province, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, “the young people prove with their actions that the Chinese young people in the new era are excellent and can be entrusted with important tasks. You are bearing the expectations of the Party and the people as well as the great trust of the nation, and shouldering the important task of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in the times.”
At the time of parting, I’d like to put forward three hopes as follows.
First, firmly adhere to ideals and faiths, uphold patriotism, and achieve your aspirations by serving our motherland. As long as the young people are aspiring, capable and responsible, the nation is bound to have bright prospects. During the outbreak of COVID-19, there were 12,000 medical workers born in the 1990s or the 2000s, accounting for 1/3 of the total and becoming the main force of medical workers. There is a saying that goes, “17 years ago, you protected us; now, it’s our turn to protect you.”The simple words sincerely expressed the patriotic feelings of the new-generation young people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, students strictly obeyed the arrangements of our university, completed various tasks such as online learning, online thesis defense and online graduation successfully, and contributed to fighting the COVID-19 through various forms, which vividly demonstrated the mental outlook of “great ambitions, great love” of SLU students. I hope that all of you could continue to keep pace with the times, bind your destiny to the people, integrate your personal will into the great will of our country and people, combine personal academic achievements and career with the destiny of our county, nation and people closely, and make contributions wherever the Party and people need you.
Second, enrich the campus culture of SLU, inherit “red spirit”, and gain a foothold in the times on the basis of good faith. The best education is the inheritance of spirit. In the early days of SLU, the founder Mr. Pan Xulun regarded “building integrity” as the creed for school education and student employment and actively advocated integrity culture. Over the 92 years of development, our university fostered a large number of professionals, i.e. Li Jianmo, a financial controller in Southern Jiangsu Anti-Japanese Democratic Base and also the prototype of the character Guo Jianguang in modern Beijing opera Shajiabang, Han Mantao, an accounting scholar, who was a member of the CPC in the early days and an alternate member of the CPC Central Committee of the 5th National Congress of the CPC, Gu Zhun, a well-known economist and also the first person who put forward the socialist market economy theory in China, and Mai Xin, a revolutionary musician and also the author of Dadao March. Nowadays, you’re in the same times as the 92-year-old SLU, and it’s your turn to enrich the campus culture of SLU. I believe that all of you will act in good faith and treat others with sincerity and consciously promote and practice the core values of socialism, just as your predecessors, so as to compose a new chapter for the century-old SLU.
Third, make persistent efforts, pool progressive forces, and master first-rate skills to contribute to the cause of building China into a great power. In modern times, relying on the indomitable efforts of the people of several generations as well as the spirit of self-improvement, the Chinese nation gradually gets rid of poverty, moves towards independence from domestic turmoil and foreign aggression, and turns into a prosperous and powerful nation from a poverty-stricken one. During the Two Sessions, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed the importance of the spirit of hardworking and thrift in a discussion with fellow deputies from the delegation of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Nowadays, in the context of world multi-polarization, economic globalization, social informatization, and cultural diversity, the new technologies such as Internet, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Block chain and AI are deeply changing the human society. Both the shortcomings in the past learning and the changes in the future world require you to keep a hardworking and progressive attitude and endeavor to learn and grasp new knowledge, improve immanent quality and temper technical expertise, in order that your horizon, mode of thinking, views, values and cognitive level could keep pace with the development of the times and that you could work hard to achieve self-worth in the progress of human society, the development of the times and the cultural evolution and could contribute to the achievement of the Two Centenary Goals as well as the achievement of the China Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
A man will be powerful if he is confident enough. SLU is always pride of you. At the beginning of your new journey, I hope that all of you could keep the original faiths, establish lofty aspirations, stay in the forefront of the times, continue writing the legend of SLU with your passion, and compose a new chapter of the times with your youthful days.
In the end, I’d like to wish all of you a happy life and a bright future, and we are looking forward to your frequent visit.
Li Shiping, Chair of the University Council of SLU
June 19, 2020