Campus News

Ambassador urges summer graduates to think globally

U.S. ambassador to Singapore and UGA alumnus David Adelman urged summer graduates in the Class of 2010 to act globally and work for measures beyond their own good when he delivered the keynote address at Commencement exercises July 31 in Stegeman Coliseum.

“Being 9,000 miles away from home has given me a new perspective on the fast changing world, the role of the U.S. and the challenges and opportunities that you, the Class of 2010, will have,” the former Georgia state senator said. “The two basic propositions I want you to keep in mind during my comments are: First, America’s security and prosperity are inextricably linked to each other and to that of other countries. And second, if we are to succeed, your generation must fully engage in international affairs.”

David Adelman, U.S. ambassador to Singapore, delivered the Commencement address. (Photo by Paul Efland)
Adelman moved his wife, Caroline, and family to Singapore from their DeKalb County home April 2 after being confirmed for the ambassadorship by the U.S. Senate. He urged the almost 1,500 graduating students to view the economic recession optimistically because its ending will mean new and wide-ranging opportunities.

“As has been the case in other tough economic times, if you pay careful attention, I believe you will find the bottoming out and the rebalancing of our country’s balance sheets will create great opportunities for you. I think the recovery will spawn a new generation of startups-some of which, no doubt, will be lead by members of the Class of 2010,” he said. “Now I know doing your own thing right out of school wasn’t the way you had planned it, but I urge you to do just that. You will be better for it and our country needs you now more than ever.”

From north Georgia’s poultry farms to south Georgia’s peanut farms, nearly every aspect of commerce within the state is touched by an international component, Adelman said. Whether these products are exported to other shores or created with foreign-made tools, what happens in Georgia no longer stays in Georgia. The local economy is directly linked to the global stage.

“Do not limit yourself to getting a job,” Adelman told graduates. “We need you to be inspired to lead a greater generation of Americans. We need you and are counting on you to be job creators.

“Rather than thinking of this day as a successful climb to the summit, I hope you will see your college days as an important stop on the ladder as you scale to much greater heights. You’ll know you are at the summit when what you are doing is creating new opportunities for others,” he added. “The paths of this campus can take you anywhere, and we’re counting on you to be leaders in this new interdependent world and to be a part of America’s new engagement.”