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2012 Commencement Speech: HM King Abdullah II

Dr. Austin,

Your Excellencies,

Faculty and friends,

Parents and families,

Class of 2012,

It is such a special day for Rania and our family. We are delighted to share this important moment in our lives with all of you.

Let me say, it has been a keen pleasure for me to know these students. I've watched them master so many challenges...the classroom, the sports field and, especially, as members of the King's Academy community. Class of 2012, I know every parent here is bursting with pride in all you have achieved.

This day also celebrates a very talented group of educators. To King's outstanding faculty and staff, let me say: Rania and I, and all our fellow parents, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. For two of our teachers, specifically, celebrations do not end today: Ms. Ruba, Mr. Chris, alf mabrouk. On behalf of everyone here, I wish you all happiness.

I must also say a word to some special people who have looked forward to this day just as much as the graduating class. Parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, families: I know the work and care and love that you have invested in these fine students. Today is your celebration too.

My friends, a few months ago, all of you – Class of 2012 and your families too – were looking forward to this day as a much-awaited finishing line, the end of a journey of experiences, discoveries, changes and challenges. But this ceremony is not called “Commencement” for nothing. Today, we are all looking ahead to the next milestone, the next quest, the beginning of the next journey.

How far we go in our journey depends on how good a traveler we are. Have we looked far enough ahead to see the path forward? Have we reached out a hand to our fellow voyagers to learn from each other? When we hit a dead end, are we brave enough to turn and find a more promising way?

Students, in a few short weeks – and they are going to be even shorter for your families, believe me – in a few short weeks, you will be arriving at some of the world's most prestigious universities. It might be all too easy to see everything in relation to yourselves. Your campus, your dorm, your mates, your grades, your degrees, your future. Allow me to speak as a father for a moment: you are not going there just for yourselves. Your journey is not yours alone.

Throughout this region – and not only in this region – people are demanding a better future. And each one of you will have a powerful role in what that future is. Here at King's Academy you have begun developing the tools that can help you be champions of dialogue and change. What you have learned here – and will learn at university – can give you the power to transform real lives; to make families more secure through the jobs you help create; to help communities thrive thanks to your leadership and creativity; to resolve conflicts through your commitment to dialogue; to bring justice by upholding your strong values.

You are the agents of change, the engines and pillars of this country’s future. Use the next few years to become the men and women your country deserves and needs.

You embark on your journey at a key moment. Exactly like you, Jordan has embarked upon a journey, one that will define it for decades to come. Like your self-transformation, our national transformation is under way and, also like you, we still have a way to go before we reach our destination. This kind of change and growth can be tremendously difficult. But, my friends, standing still is out of the question. Indeed, as proud as I am of you today, I’m proud of this country that asks more of its government, its parliament and institutions. A country that asks more of itself.

We need everyone to step up to the plate. And no one is more important than those who are here today.

Students, in the days ahead, I hope that all of you will live your journey to the full. Don't just settle for the first stop on the line. Push yourselves to go further. Learn a little more than you thought possible. Attempt a little more than you thought you could do. Never even for a minute be afraid of change.

And don’t try to journey alone. The greatest achievements, the deepest joys are shared. Don’t just “friend” people, befriend people – with acceptance, understanding and respect.

Finally, know and be proud of the great heritage you share. All of us stand on the shoulders of the generations before us – courageous and wise men and women throughout Arab history right up to the present day. And today, what you do – your actions, your choices, your courage – will carry others forward in the years to come.

Your steps have begun. Congratulations, Class of 2012!

Thank you.

Last updated
May 2, 2017