2012 LL.M. Class Commencement Address
Amr Jaghoub delivers the LL.M. Address
Amr Jaghoub of Qatar, was chosen by the LL.M. Class of 2012, composed of 47 students representing 20 countries, to deliver the LL.M. Graduation Address at the May 12, 2012, Commencement Ceremonies. Following is the text of his address.
Dean Wippman, parents, professors, graduates and distinguished guests, I would like to begin my speech by saying thank you to my extraordinary family, who have flown all the way from Qatar and England to be with us today. I owe all of my opportunities and success to them, and would not be standing before you today if not for their support and guidance. Please join me in giving a round of applause to all of the loved ones who have supported us throughout our time at law school and who have made it possible for us to be graduating this morning. I'd also like to thank our distinguished faculty, my fellow graduating students, and Khary, Dorothy and Jessica, our program coordinators, for making the previous year a truly unforgettable experience. It is an honor to address you on behalf of the LL.M. Class of 2012.
Around one year and 15 pounds ago, I found myself in a room full of strangers from all over the world, in a new country I would call home for the next year. I had no idea how I would get along with all of my classmates. We came from different backgrounds, different cultures, held different outlooks on life—we are all just very different.
I'm glad to say that those fears soon proved to be unfounded. Almost straight away, the entire class started to click. I think it started off with a simple question—what have we gotten ourselves into? But we all found that we shared a level of mutual respect that soon developed into genuine friendship—friendships that I personally will cherish for the rest of my life. Our similarities were far greater than our differences, and I believe that this is a statement that holds true beyond the walls of our Law School.
Our similarities went beyond the common disdain we all held for Minnesotan weather—although my Russian classmates seemed to have a lot better of a time adjusting to it than myself. We were all united by an interest in the law, and in world affairs in general—an interest that led many of us to pursue a career in law in the first place. At the risk of sounding cheesy, we were all interested in just how we can play a small part in making this world a better place. And most of all, we were all interested in what lessons we could learn from one another.
Of all the things we had in common, I think the most important one was approaching this experience with an open mind. It is not easy moving half way across the world to a new country with a culture completely different to your own. However, it is far more difficult for those who are unwilling to embrace their experience and to immerse themselves in the culture of the place they have moved to. Coming here with an open mind is exactly what my classmates have done, and I believe they have reaped the rewards.
As we all prepare to leave the United States, we will now be going out as ambassadors to this fine institution. And ladies and gentlemen, before you, stands a fine group of ambassadors. They are made up of judges and lawyers, future politicians and CEOs, human rights activists and defense attorneys. They have worked on women's rights and corporate law, on multi-million dollar transactions and in juvenile court. Here in Minnesota, they have participated in runs to raise money for good causes and have worked to assist those who are less fortunate in immigration clinics and other settings. All of them will be looking to make a positive change in their communities upon returning home, and what they have learned over the past year will be invaluable in achieving this goal. I am proud to call myself part of this group and will forever be proud to call myself a member of the 2012 graduating class.
Ladies and gentlemen, the law we have learned will be invaluable to us throughout our careers. But in all honesty, knowledge alone means little in the absence of ambition and integrity. In recognition of this, I would like to end my speech by sharing with you some of Kent Keith's Paradoxical Commandments. I hope that they speak to you in the same manner they have spoken to me.
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Ladies and gentlemen, it has been an honor to speak before you on behalf of the LL.M. class of 2012. Congratulations to everyone graduating this morning. Thank you.