Secretary Blinken Speaks at Georgia Tech Commencement
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently gave a commencement speech at Georgia Tech where he congratulated the Class of 2023 for surviving one of the most rigorous academic programs in the world. He praised the students for enduring hikes up Freshman Hill and all-nighters, and for achieving their goal of graduating.
Special Acknowledgment to Zaria Redhead
Blinken gave a special acknowledgment to Zaria Redhead, who gave an extraordinary speech at the ceremony. He praised her courage and wished her all the best in her future endeavors.
The Conflict of Georgia
Blinken, being America’s chief diplomat, spoke about the conflict in Georgia, but not the one the audience thought he would. He joked about the rivalry between Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and said that as a trusted mediator, he couldn’t choose sides, even when he knew which one was right. He then asked the graduates, “What’s the good word?”, to which they replied, “To hell with Georgia,” in unison.
Announcement of Ambassador to France
Blinken announced that he was nominating a renowned physicist, cellist, and social media influencer, George P. Burdell, who’s a Georgia Tech legend, as the next ambassador to France. He said that George P. Burdell had earned it and the decision was final.
Reflections on Graduation
Blinken shared his experience of graduating from college and how he barely remembered the speeches given at his commencement ceremony, since his mind was occupied with other thoughts. He empathized with the Class of 2023 and said that graduation was a moment when all past, present, and future collide. He advised them on how to navigate periods of uncertainty that lay ahead of them.
Get Comfortable with What You Don’t Know
Blinken advised the graduating class to get comfortable with what they don’t know. He shared that when he was hired as the staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was asked questions by senators that he didn’t have answers to. Blinken advised not to fake it and give out the wrong answer but to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” This shows an acknowledgment of ignorance, which signals to your team that they can be honest too.
Don’t Compare Yourselves with Others
Blinken urged the students not to compare themselves with others and their seemingly perfect lives on social media. He said that those are highlight reels. Everyone struggles with big questions like what they’re going to do with their lives. He advised them to err on the side of grace and not compare their journey with anyone else.
The Importance of Empathy
Blinken stressed the importance of empathy in life. He said that everyone was going through something, and it’s vital to understand where they come from and what challenges they face. He advised to always show empathy and compassion towards others, especially when they’re going through a tough time.
- Georgia Tech is a leading research university in the US, focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
- Zaria Redhead’s speech at the commencement ceremony focused on diversity and inclusivity and urged students to embrace their uniqueness.
- George P. Burdell is a fictitious student who has become a legend at Georgia Tech. Students use his name on emails, orders, and even to create fake accounts.
Secretary Antony Blinken’s speech at Georgia Tech commencement emphasizes the importance of being comfortable with what we don’t know, showing empathy towards others, and not comparing ourselves to others. These life lessons are crucial to apply throughout our personal and professional lives.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s speech at Georgia Tech’s commencement ceremony was inspiring and engaging. He shared his personal experience and gave valuable life lessons to the Class of 2023. His speech was a memorable moment for the graduates, and they will surely apply his advice as they start their new journey after graduation.