Veep Joseph Boakai yesterday told graduates of the AMEU that there are still more challenges to face which they must overcome if they are to succeed in life. “I urge you to match your expectations with reality. I would imagine that most of you have the desire to enter the job market which is so highly constricted, “he said.
He recounted that there was a time in the history of this country when the completion of even high school, let alone college, meant immediate prospects of a job. However, he said the graduates need not be reminded that the realities are far different as the completion of college is no longer an immediate guarantee of employment.
Speaking yesterday at the 15th commencement convocation of the university, the Vice President observed that event after a decade of uninterrupted peace; the Liberian nation is still haunted by vestiges of a war torn past, from broken infrastructure to a massive hemorrhage of skills and talents from the country and high unemployment.
He told the graduates, “Your graduation today in various fields of endeavor signals and provides hope that on the strength and potential of its human resource capacity, our dear country Liberia can once again find its footing.”
“You are now the torch bearers of a new generation and on your shoulders rest the hopes, aspirations and future of unborn generations. This means that you have to ‘put your shoulders to the wheel’ and toil for the success that will be sure to follow.
He went on: “You also have the challenge to develop a new mindset imbued with a strong sense of patriotism, a mindset that places country above self. Yours is also to develop a healthy but new work ethic that emphasizes diligence, honesty and discipline.”
“Today, I hope that my message to you is loud and clear: You have a duty and responsibility to give back, to contribute your fair share to the development of your country. Do not sit on your laurels and go to sleep or expect that now that you have earned a University degree, all things will come falling your way. Don’t dare countenance the delusion that you will become beholden to all things, and if they don’t come falling into your hands, your resort is to blame the government; the Vice President challenged the more than 500 graduates.
“The fact that we are assembled here today to confer academic degrees on more than 500 young men and women across three colleges in 10 academic degree programs, is testimonial to what and how much can be achieved with hard work and consistent efforts in a peaceful and stable environment,” he said.
On patriotism, the Vice President pointed out that patriotism is much more than waving the Liberian flag during July 26 season or on Flag Day, adding that ‘patriotism is more than calling and texting the talk shows to complain about your country and everything in it.”
“I am not saying to be a patriot you must accept every fault of your government or the political machinery that runs it. No, not at all! But I submit to you that as long as human beings run the government, they will make mistakes,” he said.
He told the graduates that they have “a responsibility to challenge our government officials to do what we elected them to do. In fact, no matter where you stand politically, we need you to participate in an urgent discussion about the future that we, and the generations after us will share. But such discussion should never come at the expense of bringing disunity in this country or resorting to violence as the first option.”
Still on patriotism, the Vice President said it “Is about building the courage to strengthen our democracy by making an impact in our community. From starting a clean-up campaign to establish a study class for the youth; you can do something that touches someone’s life. True patriotism is about that deep love and devotion to Liberia because it is the only place you can never, ever be deported from.”
“We must set aside all the dividing forces of tribalism and factionalism and become truly patriotic, putting country first. Right now our loyalty does not extend much beyond the home. Let us endeavor to avoid the mistakes that other leaders or other countries have made,” he urged.