Remarks by Ms. Eun Jung Yi, Program Manager, Regional Support Office of the Bali Process, who was selected by her peers to provide the commencement speech for the graduating Fellows of CSC 22-2.
Aloha everyone. What a gorgeous day to graduate. My name is Eun Jung Yi, and it is a great honour to be up here speaking to you on behalf of CSC-22. I am honored to share this day with you, a day that represents the culmination of an enormous amount of hard work, friendship, and – I dare to say – love.
Graduations are times of endings, but also of great beginnings. In my culture, we have something called “beauty in the ending”. And I believe that has to start with expressing our tremendous gratitude to everyone helping us get through the course.
Director Gumataotao and respected faculty of APCSS, I would like to thank you for creating this wonderful course where we aren’t only allowed to succeed but also to learn from our loss. Thank you very much for allowing us to question without judging and for having a growth mindset.
And I want to thank the staff members of the APCSS who worked tirelessly to run the course, behind our back. Mike, receiving your warm greeting each morning made our day special. Kay, without your care, some of us would have survived literally. Tammy and the rest of the library team, thank you for guiding us to the wealth of knowledge. Mat, thank you for keeping our memories tangible. Sound staff, and interns, your hard work kept us engaged and heard.
Although he is not present, Tom, joyful Tom, and Fred made sure we felt welcomed and at home.
Last, but not least, Nelson, where are you? You literally rode us to the arena of international cooperation every day. We felt you were one of us.
And finally to you, my dearest fellows of CSC-22! Congratulations! We have done it! Today is the day. We’ve reached a milestone in our journey of 37 days of searching for peace, security, and prosperity.
Initially when I was preparing for the speech, I was in agony. What kind of message could I give on behalf of these highly intelligent and successful folks? So I decided to speak about what you felt and learned during the course. I interviewed some of you and listened to your life stories. Then, I had a look at my journal and realized there was a common understanding among us.
I created an APCSS Journal on Google Docs and recorded three things: what I learned that day, what was eye-opening, and how I will apply that in my job. I brought a print of it with me today. I don’t read out loud my diary, but it is now the second time to confess after I just declare my love to you.
On the very first day of the course, I wrote;
Action learning! Learning without reflection is a waste. APCSS’s approach of giving options to offer our views is refreshing… …
I ended the journal that day with;
Be super confident. The military fellows speak with shining confidence and look super talented and experienced. I will learn a lot from them. Love my seminar. My seminar leaders and fellows seem the best. How lucky I am!
How lucky we are to have met one another. There is a Korean expression that says even just brushing against someone in the sleeves forms a connection. What we had was not mere networking. It was bonding. We went grocery shopping together, shared numerous meals and had fun together. The sense of belongingness and closeness manifested in Stakpoll and Seminar. Take a moment to look to your left and right. Don’t you find those sitting next to you so incredible? They can be someone’s heroes easily. I know a fellow here who has four master’s degrees and craves learning more. Some of you survived near-death situations while serving for your countries. Some fought in wars. Others fought injustice in their organization and society. We had the privilege of getting to know each other in the most unassuming way. No title or position mattered to our friendships. We connected to one another by being true to ourselves. Be proud of yourselves for making a lasting relationship with these gifted people.
I feel lucky to know the mounting challenges surrounding me but I am not alone. I knew there were many problems as I work in the transnational crime sector. But not this many! The faculty taught us there is no shortage of trouble. On top of that, the issues are complex. We have cognitive impediments. However, we were given tools to solve them. Frankly, a causal loop is not my strong element, but I do not worry. We have one another to help reflect and rethink the problem together. That will bring diverse points of view and transform our mindset. We are so lucky to have one another to seek advice from and collaborate with.
Soon we are going to graduate and the entire process will end. Like you, I don’t wish it would end. But it has to. If there is one sentiment I want you to take away from my speech; it is thankfulness. I feel lucky for what I have received from all of you in the lanai. I am really grateful for what I learned, experienced, and felt. But it should not end with feeling grateful. JFK said;
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Let’s give back what we have received and help each other. I owe you for each memory we share. And I will do my best to pay you back. Let me be a part of who celebrates not only big but small achievements in your life.
I know some, no, all of you are optimistic and positive. Still, some days you may feel down. When you have a bad day like that, don’t suffer alone. Reach out. I guarantee you there are many people here who would cheer for you with sincerity. We will make you feel valued and special because we know how great you are. We will be your rainbow after rain, like in Hawaii.
Mahalo for your kokua.