UN Week 6/11/2012
This blog entry is written by members of our blogging community and expresses those experts’ views alone
By Jim and Douglas Carey
In this issue: a commencement address like no other.
US Ambassador to the UN Susan E. Rice yesterday sent the graduating class at Ohio State on their way with a remarkable message.
For one thing, she went into some family background of which I had been ignorant.
“My late father was a proud man— one of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, an economics professor, a senior official at the Treasury Department and the World Bank, and ultimately, a Governor of the Federal Reserve System. That all came despite ferocious odds.
“You see, he was born in 1919 in segregated South Carolina. But when he was a teenager, he got to attend the City College of New York—a great public institution like this one. He graduated, got his MBA and his doctorate, and then worked with passion and patriotism to serve his country and the world.
“My mother’s parents emigrated from Jamaica to Maine in 1912. My grandfather was a janitor, but he still managed to send four sons to Bowdoin College and my mother to Radcliffe, where she became student government president. And Mom has devoted her career to making higher education more accessible to all.
“So when I think about education, I don’t just think about my kids. I think about my parents as well. Education is the force that let them compete fair and square. Their lives remind me that, while America hasn’t always lived up to the promise of equality, when we demand it, when we work for it, America’s founding values have a way of always winning out.”
Ambassador Rice recited “10 lessons that have served me well.* * *
“Number one, always put family first. They are your strength and foundation.
“Second, always challenge yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. You’re too young to take the easy road.
“Third, go travel—get dust in your hair. Take advantage of OSU’s Global Gateways.
“Fourth, learn more languages—to see the world through other’s eyes.
“Fifth, focus on what stirs your soul. It’s hard to excel at anything that you don’t truly love.
“Sixth, be fearless. It’s difficult to make progress without ruffling a few feathers.
“Seventh, don’t be afraid to go down fighting if you’re fighting a righteous battle.
“Eighth, very important, never want something so badly that you do something you don’t believe in to get it.
“Ninth, don’t sweat what other folks may think of you. As Dr. Seuss said, ‘Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.’
“And tenth, be about more than the money. Comfort and economic security, they’re good, but they’re not enough. You should be about creating change, not just counting it.”
Now I would like to tell about an Ohio State graduate I used to know and work with, Clyde Ferguson, who when I first got to know him was the Dean of the Law School at Howard University in Washington, DC. Like Ambassador Rice, Clyde represented the US at the UN in various capacities. He held, among other posts, the position of US Ambassador to the Economic and Social Council, known as ECOSOC. At Ohio State, Clyde was a football player. In the Army, he was a soldier.