Palestinian grads, Jewish alum deliver

2006 graduation speeches about global cooperation

19 June 2006

     At Duke University in North Carolina, the May, 2006 graduation ceremony featured a Palestinian-American scholar delivering the Student Commencement Address.
     The story is at http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/2006/05/kopty.html .
     The transcript of his speech is at http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/2006/05/kopty_speech.html .
     Provost Peter Lange's glowing introduction was reminder of the student's international experience and outstanding Duke scholarship -- twice on the Deans list; four times on the Deans list with distinction, and awarded Distinction on his senior thesis.
     After majoring in International Comparative Studies, with minors in English and Religion, the graduate spoke of empathy and responsibility.
     We have a responsibility to know how we affect other peoples lives. . .were all in this together. . .let us embrace this challenge of becoming invested in each others security and well-being.  Indeed, this is the challenge of the global era. . ."


     Jewish Len Traubman delivered the Commencement Address for the School of Dentistry graduation ceremony of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), last Saturday, June 17, 2006.
     The body of the address is at http://traubman.igc.org/ucsf-grad.htm .
     His words and recommendations drew from 25 years' personal experience bringing together avowed rivals, including Soviets and Americans, Armenians and Azerbaijanis, and Jews and Palestinians.
     He reminded the graduates of the obsolescence of war and violence, and of the supreme importance of building human relationships in all arenas of life.
     Drawing heavily from 15 years of bringing Palestinians and Jews face to face, he told stories of increasing numbers of courageous citizens -- groups of Arabs and Jews who meet, transform relationships, and creatively effect successful social change together.
     "Weve had a taste of what anthropologist Margaret Meade discovered long ago: 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.'"
     He assured the graduates: "Never doubt your own power to communicate and create change. I dont."
     The conclusions of the Palestinian scholar from Duke are reached just the same by Traubman.
     "We used to think there was individual survival I win, you lose.
     "Life doesnt work that way. Not really.
     "On this Earth, were one neighbors forever. Somos uno. One. Odin. Wahad, in Arabic. Echad, in Hebrew.
      "Were just beginning to understand the meaning of One."


     Across San Francisco Bay, similar thoughts had been expressed by Palestinian Daniel Zoughbie a graduating senior and commencement speaker for hundreds of students in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley.
     "As leaders we can break down the confining barriers of insularity and hatred and guide others into the freedom found in service."
     Beginning his own life of service, as an undergraduate student Daniel has already invented the Global Micro-Clinic approach to treat and prevent diabetes from people in the Middle East and beyond.
     His story is at http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=local&id=4196230 .
     Berkeley's Division of International Studies is launching a global Micro-Clinic fellowship program based on Daniel's model.

     Daniel's father is Palestinian.  His mother's roots are Jewish. 
     His uncle, Zoughbi Al-Zoughbi, is a devoted Palestinian peacemaker.  Daniel's education has been assisted by Haas and Strauss scholarships.

     More and more, we can find ways to affect and nurture one another in positive ways.
     We can choose a life of service to each other.
     A life like young graduate, Daniel Zoughbie, already lives.