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Jacobs University Bremen Graduation: A plea for freedom
June 7, 2019
Happy, colorful, but also contemplative atmosphere; Jacobs University held its annual graduation ceremony in an impressive and moving manner with guests from all over the world. Almost 400 of them from 72 nations received their certificates and congratulations from Professor Dr. Michael Hülsmann, President of the international university. The festivities concluded with the traditional throwing of hats.
Hülsmann chose the topic of freedom for his speech. As far as it is concerned, as with many other things, freedom is often only appreciated when it is endangered. "Freedom is under increasing pressure in many ways," said Hülsmann. "We are all called upon to counteract the erosion of freedom." It is the indispensable prerequisite for the greatest gift one can give each other in an enlightened society: Generousness.
"If we adopt an attitude of generosity, we create a sense of unity and freedom," said Hülsmann. This feeling touches everyone at Jacobs University, regardless of political opinion, religion, skin color, gender or sexual orientation. "This is what makes up the special energy of this university." At the end of his speech he quoted the former president of Czechoslovakia and human rights activist Václav Havel: "Freedom is like the sea: individual waves can't do much, but the power of the surf is irresistible".
Dr. Insa Thiele-Eich was the main speaker at the ceremony, which lasted two hours and at which each graduate was invited to the stage individually to receive his or her diploma. In a free speech, which received well-earned applause, the meteorologist, who wants to be the first female German to fly into space, combined her life story as a mother of three and as a daughter of an astronaut with tips for the students.
Thus, she encouraged them to self-reflect. "What drives me? What am I passionate about? Asking yourself again and again and again is very valuable in life. She was impressed by the diversity on campus: "Believe me, when I tell you: Diversity on your campus is very rare, it will continue to enrich your life in the future".
"To see diversity as an enrichment and not as a threat is more important than ever, said Sandro Giuliani, Managing Director of the Jacobs Foundation, in his speech. Graduation is a day that makes him proud, as it shows that the Jacobs Foundation's support has fallen on fertile ground. "They show that it is possible to build a community without borders and fill it with life, passion and purpose," he said to the graduates. And: "Promise me and you that you will continue to uphold the values you have lived here in the future".
Jacobs University awarded an honorary doctorate to the 79-year-old chemistry Nobel Prize winner Prof. Ada E. Yonat as part of the graduation. For health reasons she could not accept the prize personally. The Jacobs community therefore sent its recovery requests to Israel.