Convocation remarks

April 29, 2004, Vol.30, no. 1

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Below are excerpts from the convocation remarks of the three honorary degree recipients. For the full text, go to:

The Dalai Lama

Today's honorary degree convocation ceremony is a very unique one. It is unique in the sense that it is being held in a place of worship, in a sacred space and where the three honorees represent, in some sense, three great religions of the world: Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.

So this shows respect to all religions, all different cultures, all different people. I think, on the ground, all are the same human beings, the same human brothers and sisters. All have good potential, all have the same rights and, with compassionate attitude, due respect and appreciation for all these different religions. I think that's really great.

One of my efforts is the promotion of harmony among the different traditions. Of course, I am Buddhist. To myself Buddhism is best but that does not mean Buddhism is the best religion of the world. No. To each people, each individual according to one's own tradition is best.

For the full text, go to:

Profesor Shirin Ebadi

The truth resembles a mirror that fell from the hand of God, was shattered into a thousand pieces and each person found a piece of that shattered mirror. As such, no one can claim to possess the truth and the whole truth and the rest of you are mistaken.

One of the features of a healthy society is to tolerate the opposing opinions. Another feature of a healthy society is the intervention of civil institutions in public affairs. In a healthy society people do not demand the government to do everything but they step forward and take charge of their own public affairs.

Education, of course, is the responsibility of the central government and still civil institutions play a crucial part in this matter as well. I am pleased to receive this honorary degree at a university which at the same time receives support from the government and still is based on institutional support of civil institutions of the kind I mentioned.

For the full text, go to:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Thank you for this wonderful privilege and honour which I receive, as I do most of these awards, in a representative capacity. I receive it on behalf of all of our people back home who are the people you really want to honour, the people who are stalwarts, the heroines and heroes of our struggle.

One thing that I wanted to refer to is the extraordinary message that Jesus, at the resurrection, gave to Mary Magdelene. Those of you who are Christians may remember that Jesus says, “Go and tell” - now he could have said, “Go to tell my disciples.” He could have said “Go and tell my friends because, in this particular gospel he said that is the highest title they can have. He says none of those. He says to her, “Go and tell my brothers that I am ascending to my God and their God, to my father and their father.” And I discovered that that is probably the most radical thing that Jesus said. That we are family, that we are family.

Family are God's gift to you, as you are to them. And however a member of your family might be, however ghastly, that person will always remain a member of your family. And family has a particular ethic. You say, from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.

For the full text, go to:

View the archived web cast of the special convocation ceremony at:

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