Haile Selassie I speech at Asmara University Aug. 1, 1
"Life is full of trials and tribulations and man in his struggle to survive and guide his own destiny has to be prepared to meet its many challenges, particularly in our modern world. Education can harness man's immense potential and enable him to be better equipped in his life-long pursuit so he can utilize his strength and intellect to the highest use. Mankind has benefited from this through the ages.
"Much as a man has progressed in the scientific and technological fields he has not made a parallel endeavor to enrich himself spiritually. The materialism of today is over-riding the spiritual values to the extent that today we observe a lot of unrest and social upheavals which have become common phenomena the world over. Unless humanity reverts to the time honored values which have enabled past generations to overcome with courage the adversities they had encountered in their daily lives, we shall not only be failing ourselves but posterity as well. In order to advance in our respective undertakings and set ourselves on the right path we have to learn and draw abundantly from the great spiritual heritage which our fathers and forefathers have bequeathed to us. This can give us strength and a sense of continuity which are essential for progress and development. Learning and profound knowledge nurture noble character and impart wisdom.
"The family unit and educational establishments have great responsibilities in these endeavors for they are the basis of national progress and prosperity. The harvest of life is character which grows with time and it is this very factor that determines one's destiny and future. We shall always bear this in mind and in so doing, we shall avoid personal disaster and will not bring adverse influence on others.
"It is Our expressed hope that the education which you have acquired here will enable you, the graduating class, to face with determination the challenges that you are to encounter in your future assignments so that you will be a positive contribution to the growth and development of your country. You should be well aware of the fact that it is not mere academic achievement that is expected of you. Your knowledge and training, unless put to proper and practical use, will be wasted like hoarded money and you will be no better in this regard than the uneducated. Higher education which you have been fortunate to pursue entails heavy responsibilities and obligations.
"As the measure of your growth in your respective lines of studies remains to be revealed in your future careers, you should now be prepared to render dedicated services commensurate with the education you have had here. Throughout your life your competence will be gauged by the tasks you are to accomplish and you shall be rewarded accordingly. It is, therefore your primary duty to work hard in order to make sure that the result of your labors are worthy of the efforts spent on your education. People who have had the good opportunity of the education you have had should always adopt a rational and far-sighted approach to problems which they may face in the course of their careers and should likewise endeavor to find lasting solutions for them which are adaptable and applicable to local conditions. In the future you have to serve your beloved country with sincerity and revealing faithfulness in accordance with the Golden Rule, "Love thy neighbor as thyself," for it is only then that you can be useful to yourselves and of service to your fellow countrymen.
"There is nothing more worthwhile and rewarding in life than to work for the benefit of others. One can derive more pleasure from giving than from receiving. We believe that each and every one of you who in leaving this institution for his or her respective calling has come to realize that education is seldom prized merely on account of its usefulness to individuals. Nor is it intended to be a mere ornament and a mark of distinction and prominence to the persons who are fortunate to receive it. Those who have had the opportunity to learn should always be at the disposal of those who have not had its benefit. Therefore, it is not only the individual but the community at large which should benefit from the virtues of education. The words of the Holy Bible, "Give and it shall be given unto you," are worth observing in your daily lives. This momentous event should be a time in which you should reflect and pose to yourselves the questions, "what kind of service are we going to render to our country and what do we intend to accomplish in life?" It is our firm belief that if you forego self-love and self-indulgence and break away from worldly desires and you will be able to make great contributions to your family, community and country.
"It is not long since the university was established. However, within this short span of time it has been able to develop and expand its facilities and services with admiration. These have been made possible because of the tenacity and dedication of the president and staff of this university. We deeply appreciate their endeavors and also wish to thank the government and people of Italy for their continued generous grants and contributions which have definitely helped the growth and progress of this university. We are also aware that His Holiness Pope Paul VI has been providing assistance to this university.
"May the Almighty bless and guide the members of the graduating class of this year and crown their future with success."
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