Rector’s Speech in the Ceremony for the Conferment of Higher Degrees 2022 ( 26/11/2022)

Honourable Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U, representative of the Chancellor of the University of Macau,

Honourable Chair of the University Council, Dr Lam Kam Seng Peter,

Distinguished Members of the University Assembly and the University Council,

Distinguished guests, alumni, parents, teachers and students:

Good afternoon!

Today, a total of 1,306 postgraduate students are graduating from the University of Macau, harvesting the rewards of their efforts. On behalf of the University, I would like to extend my warmest felicitations to all graduates and regards to the faculty members who dedicated themselves to guiding these students to success. My heartfelt gratitude also goes to all stakeholders in the wider community who have supported the development of the University.

Postgraduate study is undoubtedly full of challenges and hardship. Not only are you faced with more stringent academic training, your intellect and will are also constantly put to test, and your character and spirit continually forged. More importantly, on the path of academic research you are required to ask questions and look for answers, create and make your contribution to academia. Dear students, I can imagine that your time at UM would have been busy, yet exciting and fulfilling. You would have started your day early in the research laboratories to work on your experiment and finished late into the night. You might have buried your head among heaps of books at the Wu Yee Sun Library, and burnt the midnight oil, only to search for that bit of knowledge that would spark your imagination. You would have engaged in invigorating conversations with your teachers and classmates in classrooms, at a cafeteria in S8 or under the shade of trees on the Central Avenue. You probably broke a sweat at the N8 Sports Complex and on the waterfront running track so that you could dive into your studies and research the following day feeling refreshed and energised. All these are not just marks you have left on the UM campus, but also fond memories of your university life that you will hopefully cherish dearly. These experiences, insight and the sense of belonging you have fostered throughout your campus life will become part of unforgettable memories shared by all of you. My dear students, we urge you to seek knowledge with an unquenchable thirst and pursue scientific inquiry with an ever-growing passion. We encourage you to find elegant answers to your research questions and contribute to the development of your areas of study. Today is a testament to your achievement, both personal and intellectual. In the years to come, we will continue to stand by you, cheer for you and be proud of all your growth and successes every step along the way.

In recent years, in response to the development of our nation in general  and the Greater Bay Area in particular, UM has inaugurated new postgraduate programmes in various fields, aiming to offer more interdisciplinary platforms that aid in the integration of knowledge in graduate studies in addition to nurturing talent for the advancement of the society. I am delighted to see that many who have graduated from these programmes have already secured opportunities where they can apply their skills and abilities to make their mark on the development of Macao and the Greater Bay Area.

The world today is increasingly complex and volatile. It is going through a paradigm shift and changes unseen in a century are afoot. The 20th National Congress this year ushered in a new era in China where the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will be advanced through a uniquely Chinese path to modernisation. While great achievements lift our spirit, far-reaching goals motivate us to work even harder. As we set our eyes to the future, we should remain confident and brace ourselves for the challenges ahead. For this I offer you three suggestions, which are also for us all to reflect upon:

First, success requires both great ambitions and the courage to assume great responsibilities. Dear students, as the brains of our society, the pillars of our nation and the future of our world, you must dare to dream big and fly high, while striving to do good work and achieve good results. Now is the time to forge ahead and take things into one’s own hands. I hope you set goals that are as high as the sky and assume responsibilities that are expected of you by the times. I hope you will overcome all challenges and obstacles to accomplish great things.

Second, lead a life full of confidence and humility. I hold dear two principles which I think can be of great value to the younger generation. One is about staying motivated by being confident and bold, and the other about knowing one’s value by practising humility and keeping a clear head. In times of adversity, remind yourself of the first principle, which will help you keep calm and committed. And in good times, remember the second one so that you remain sensible, careful and humble.

Third, embrace hardship, work hard and be down-to-earth. In the future you may face more ferocious competition and a more volatile environment. Difficulties and challenges may come at you anytime. You must learn to stand alone, endure hardship and foster resilience. ‘Do not run after castles in the air or empty words.’ You must set out to travel your own path with both feet firmly on the ground.

Dear students, looking back at these few years of your studies at UM, you will know that you have lived through the immense challenges brought about by the pandemic and witnessed the University’s milestone of its 40th anniversary. You have learned and inherited UM’s motto of ‘Humanity, Integrity, Propriety, Wisdom and Sincerity’. ‘Chinese youths of today have been born at the right time. The stage for their talent to flourish has never been bigger, and the prospect of realising dreams has never been brighter.’ With the sincerest heart, I wish all of you success and prosperity in all your ventures! Good health and best of luck to you all! Thank you.