8 May 2006 United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown today called on New York University (NYU) graduates to fully engage with the world as true “global citizens” and live up to the words of former United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt by casting aside isolationism.
Speaking at the commencement of the University’s School of Continuing and Professional Education, which included the first batch of graduates from the Program of Global Affairs, Mr. Malloch Brown praised the students for their “determination and initiative” to pursue further studies and a career at the same time, and recalled his own experiences relating to continuing education.
“As a former chief of the UN Development Programme, I have a particular perspective on continuing education: that of the countries of Southern Africa as they emerged from long and vicious civil wars. In places like Mozambique and Namibia, many of today’s leaders spent their traditional university years in the bush as freedom fighters. Yet when justice and democracy were established, many of the rebels went back to school,” he said.
“Mozambique became, almost literally, a country governed by continuing education. The determination to learn reflected a determination to rebuild. To put the war years behind them and to regain lost ground, Mozambicans decided that it was never too late to learn, to go to school, to set a new course for themselves.”
Recalling these examples, Mr. Malloch Brown told the students that their studies in NYU’s classrooms “should be the beginning, not the end, of a lifetime of learning,” adding that his own continuing education has been based on a sense of “global citizenship – a readiness to change countries more often than jobs.”
He also outlined the breadth of the UN’s work, from promoting democracy and literacy, encouraging investment and trade, to ensuring decent education, checking nuclear proliferation and combating bird flu, highlighting that whatever the students’ fields of study, the world body’s work “concerns all of you.”
“More than half a century ago a great New Yorker, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, made a passionate plea for America’s global engagement. ‘We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations, far away,’ he declared. ‘We have learned that we must live as men, and not as ostriches, nor as dogs in the manger. We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.’ ”
The Deputy Secretary-General voiced hope that the graduates would “continue to represent not just the ideals of this University and the vibrancy of this city, but also the exhortation of President Roosevelt,” adding “that, ultimately, is the charge of global citizenship.”