Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. And does it get any better than this, a graduation ceremony for one of the great universities in the world in the home of New York Yankees? Nothing could be better. And thanks to all of you for cheering a visitor. I didn’t realize that was permitted in Yankee Stadium.
I am honored to receive this degree. And on behalf of the other honorees, I say thank you. Thank you for giving us this singular privilege of being part of this commencement ceremony. As I look out at this huge crowd of graduates, family, and friends, I can only reflect on what an extraordinary moment in history you are receiving your degrees, a moment in time of our country and the world where your talents and your energy, your passion and commitment is more needed than ever. There is no doubt that you are well prepared for a world that seems somewhat uncertain but which will welcome the education that you have received on behalf of not only of yourselves and your families, but your communities and your country.
As Secretary of State, I am well aware of the challenges that we face. You, as new graduates, and your generation will be up against those challenges: climate change and hunger, extreme poverty and extreme ideologies, new diseases and nuclear proliferation. But I am absolutely convinced that you and we are up to the task. There is no problem we face here in America or around the world that will not yield to human effort, to cooperation, to positive interdependence that makes clear humanity is going on, our challenges are ones that summon the best of us, and we will make the world better tomorrow than it is today.
Now, I know that it is fashionable in commencement speeches to be idealistic, and that may sound so, but at the root of my conviction is a strong sense of reality. Because you see, I don’t think we have a choice. We can sit on the sidelines, we can wring our hands, we can retreat into cynicism, and we know what the results will be: We will cede the field to those whose ideologies are absolutely anathema to people of conscience and faith all over the world. So our positive interdependence, which is a fact, will prepare us to meet these challenges. But they can no longer be seen just as government-to-government. There is a time and an opportunity, and with the new technologies available, for us to be citizen diplomats, citizen activists, to solve problems one by one that will give in to hard work, patience, and persistence, and will then aggregate to the solutions we seek.