A Message for the MGA Class of 2020

Author: Clemens Sedmak

Dear friends,

Let us keep it simple; it is as simple as that: We need artisans of a new humanity.

For my wife’s birthday, our boys decided to surprise her by building a raised garden bed. A raised garden bed, as you know, is practical for aging gardeners, is beautiful to look at, and is horticulturally efficient. It brings new life and new work to your garden. Our boys were inspired to do that by a video they had seen, they took the initiative and they worked together as a team.

Inspiration, initiative, interaction.

Let us keep it simple; it is as simple as that: We need artisans of a new humanity. We need inspiration, initiative, interaction.

An artisan, so my dictionary tells me, is a worker in a skilled trade. You are hard workers with great skills some of which were acquired here at the Keough School of Global Affairs.

We need artisans of a new humanity—persons with inspiration, initiative, interaction. Humanity is fragile and humanity is wounded. Humanity is in crisis. Humanity—this is the homeless person in South Bend, the street vendor in Kampala, my mother in Austria.

We need artisans of a new humanity—and do you know what they need to make for all of us? We need artisans who make hope and create reasons for hope.

We need very inspiring people. We need people who are willing to take the initiative and make the first step.  We need people who are able to work together. We need people like you.

I am so very grateful that we have met, and so very proud that you reached the point of graduation. Congratulations!

I am so hopeful that you will bring new hope to the garden of this world by your inspiration, by your initiatives, by your interactions. This is the beginning of the rest of your lives!

Let me end with a few lines from the poem “Please” by Hilde Domin that we read together:

Longing for a landscape
this side of the border of tears
doesn't work
longing to remain unscathed
doesn't work

What works is to ask
please
that at sunrise the dove
will bring the olive branch

And that we, out of the flood
will be released
renewing ourselves
even more wounded and even more healed. 

All good wishes!