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Going to university is more important than ever for young people

原标题:Remarks of Bill Gates, Harvard Commencement 2007(2007.07.07)


1. An anxious generation.

But the financial returns are falling


印度孟买理工科业余大学学学校长白乐瑞(劳伦斯 S. Bacow)


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Among the class of 2018, 41% have at some point sought mental health
support from the university’s health services. About 15% had also sought
support off campus. It’s a striking reminder that these young people
have studied at a time of rising concerns about stress and wellbeing on

Feb 3rd 2018 | SEOUL




IN A classroom in Seoul a throng of teenagers sit hunched over their
desks. In total silence, they flick through a past exam paper. Stacks of
brightly coloured textbooks are close to hand. Study begins at 8 am and
ends at 4.30pm, but some will not go home until 10pm. Like hundreds of
thousands of South Koreans, they are preparing for the suneung, the
multiple-choice test that will largely determine whether they go to a
good university or a bad one, or to university at all.


2. More than one in five leave Harvard as virgins.

Over the course of a single generation in South Korea, degrees have
become close to ubiquitous. Seventy percent of pupils who graduate from
the country’s secondary schools now go straight to university,and a
similar share of 25- to 34-year-olds hold degrees, up from 37% in
2000.Students scramble to gain admittance to the
most prestigious institutions, with exam preparation starting ever
younger. Sought-after private nurseries in Seoul have long waiting


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prestige: the respect and admiration that someone or something gets
for being successful or important

President Bok, former President Rudenstine, incoming President Faust,
members of the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers, members
of the faculty, parents, and especially, the graduates:

洛桑联邦理教院的第叁九任校长白乐瑞 (Lawrence S. Bacow)

There was a similar number who had never had any “dating” experience
while at university. Where dating did take place, dating apps were used
by 69%. But more than a fifth of these new graduates reported having
been “sexually harassed” at some point during their time as students.

prestigious university or prestigious institutions

I’ve been waiting more than 30 years to say this: “Dad, I always told
you I’d come back and get my degree.”

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I want to thank Harvard for this timely honor. I’ll be changing my job
next year … and it will be nice to finally have a college degree on my


3. Liberals in a Trump era.

South Korea is an extreme case. But other countries, too, have seen a
big rise in the share of young people with degrees.In the OECD club of
35 countries, 43% of 25- to 34-year-olds now have degrees.In America the
figure is 48%.

I applaud the graduates today for taking a much more direct route to
your degrees. For my part, I’m just happy that the Crimson has called me
“Harvard’s most successful dropout.” I guess that makes me valedictorian
of my own special class … I did the best of everyone who failed.



Between 1995 and 2014 government spending on higher education in the
OECD rose from 0.9% of GDP to 1.1%, while private spending rose from
1.2% to 1.5%. As government subsidies for tuition fees flow through to
institutions they have helped inflate costs. Since 1990 fees for
American students who do not get scholarships or bursaries have risen
twice as fast as overall inflation.

But I also want to be recognized as the guy who got Steve Ballmer to
drop out of business school. I’m a bad influence. That’s why I was
invited to speak at your graduation. If I had spoken at your
orientation, fewer of you might be here today.

Thank you, President Hao. Thank you, colleagues, students, and friends.
It is an honor to be here at Peking University, and I am very grateful
for the warm welcome you have given me. Please accept my congratulations
on your recent 120th anniversary.

Politically these young graduates, who began at Harvard during the Obama
administration, are opponents of the current presidency, with 72% saying
the US is going in the wrong direction. Only 3% of those who voted
backed Donald Trump, and two-thirds of these graduates describe
themselves as liberal or very liberal.

Policymakers regard it as obvious that sending more young people to
university will boost economic growth and social mobility. Both notions
are intuitively appealing. Better-educated people should surely be more
likely to come up with productivity-boosting innovations. As
technological change makes new demands of workers, it
seems plausible that more will need to be well-educated. And a degree is
an obvious way for bright youngsters from poor families to prove their

Harvard was just a phenomenal experience for me. Academic life was
fascinating. I used to sit in on lots of classes I hadn’t even signed up
for. And dorm life was terrific. I lived up at Radcliffe, in Currier
House. There were always lots of people in my dorm room late at night
discussing things, because everyone knew I didn’t worry about getting up
in the morning. That’s how I came to be the leader of the anti-social
group. We clung to each other as a way of validating our rejection of
all those social people.

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But comparisons between countries provide little evidence of these
links. Richer countries have more graduates, but that could be because
there is more money to spare, and less urgency to start earning. Rich
economies grow more slowly, but that is probably because they have fewer
easy ways to raise productivity, not because education depresses their

Commencement speech by Bill Gates

It is a special honor for me to visit you as you approach another
anniversary, the centennial of the May Fourth Movement, a proud moment
in your history that demonstrated to the world a deep commitment on the
part of young Chinese to the pursuit of truth—and a deep understanding
of the power of truth to shape the future. Even now, President Cai
Yuanpei speaks to us. “Universities are places for grand learning,” he
said. “They are grand because they follow the general principle of free
thought.” Under his visionary leadership, tremendous intellectual
exploration and dramatic social change were unleashed.

4. Campus free speech?

bursary: an amount of money that a student is given to help pay for
college or university study, a scholarship or grant

Bill Gates addresses the Harvard Alumni Association in Tecentenary
Theater at Harvard University’s 2007 Commencement Afternoon Exercises.

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intuitive: having the ability to know or understand things without any
proof or evidence

Radcliffe was a great place to live. There were more women up there, and
most of the guys were science-math types. That combination offered me
the best odds, if you know what I mean. This is where I learned the sad
lesson that improving your odds doesn’t guarantee success.

I join you today eager to learn more about one of the oldest
universities in China—a university devoted to grand learning and free
thought. My personal and professional travels have brought me to China
many times. But it is truly extraordinary to experience this country and
some of its great institutions as the president of Harvard University.
Harvard and Beida share a deep and enduring commitment to higher
education. We enjoy many strong connections and collaborations among our
students and our faculty, who are generating knowledge that will change
the world for the better—be it through art and architecture, through
medicine and public health, or through engineering and environmental
science. We should remember that that Cai Yuanpei not only led this
university, but also helped to found the Academia Sinica, the Shanghai
Conservatory of Music, and the China Academy of Art. His example reminds
us of the power of both the arts and the sciences to elevate the human
spirit and improve the human condition.

There were signs that students are self-censoring their views and not
debating openly. About two-thirds of students had “at some point chosen
not to express an opinion in an academic setting out of fear it would
offend others”. This was particularly the case for Republican
supporters. But almost half of students wanted to have “trigger
warnings” if courses were going to include something that could be
upsetting or offensive.

One of my biggest memories of Harvard came in January 1975, when I made
a call from Currier House to a company in Albuquerque that had begun
making the world’s first personal computers. I offered to sell them

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I worried that they would realize I was just a student in a dorm and
hang up on me. Instead they said: “We’re not quite ready, come see us in
a month,” which was a good thing, because we hadn’t written the software
yet. From that moment, I worked day and night on this little extra
credit project that marked the end of my college education and the
beginning of a remarkable journey with Microsoft.

Harvard has long looked eastward for expertise and partnership. In 1879,
Mr. Ge Kunhua traveled from Shanghai to Cambridge with his wife and six
children to become Harvard’s first instructor in Mandarin Chinese. The
volumes he carefully transported to our campus were Harvard’s first
books in any Asian language, and they became the original holdings of
the Harvard-Yenching Library. One hundred and forty years and more than
1.5 million volumes later, it is now the largest academic library for
East Asian studies outside of Asia—and the third largest of the
University’s dozens of libraries. Among its many digitized collections
are Chinese women’s writings of the Ming and Qing periods—an online
archive that makes important materials from both Beida and Harvard
accessible to scholars worldwide.

5. Raising a glass.

A truth universities acknowledged

What I remember above all about Harvard was being in the midst of so
much energy and intelligence. It could be exhilarating, intimidating,
sometimes even discouraging, but always challenging. It was an amazing
privilege – and though I left early, I was transformed by my years at
Harvard, the friendships I made, and the ideas I worked on.

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The main piece of evidence cited by policymakers is the “graduate
premium”—the difference between the average earnings of someone with a
degree and someone with no more than a secondary-school education, after
accounting for fees and the income forgone while studying. This gap is
often expressed as the “return on investment” in higher education, or
the annualised boost to lifetime earnings from gaining a degree.
Research by the New York Federal Reserve shows that the return on
investment in higher education soared between 1980 and 2000 in America,
before levelling off at around 15% a year. In other words, an investment
equal to the cost of tuition and earnings forgone while studying would
have to earn 15% annual interest before it matched the average value
over a working life of gaining a degree.

But taking a serious look back … I do have one big regret.

These tremendous resources are used by some of the more than three
hundred faculty across Harvard who study China—the largest group at any
American university. These scholars and teachers deepen and strengthen
understanding of Chinese culture, history, religion, anthropology,
sociology, law, education, public health, public policy, and business.
Last month, in preparation for this trip, I joined some of them for
lunch to learn more about their diverse scholarship. It was nothing
short of an intellectual feast, and I was reminded of the tremendous
value of studying China in all its complexity and of sharing knowledge
of China with the wider world.

Alcohol has proved to be the most durable of student diversions. More
than 90% drink alcohol, and most drink every week. But tobacco has
virtually been entirely stubbed out. There are almost no regular
smokers, and more than three-quarters have never even once smoked
tobacco. More students had tried cannabis than tobacco.

The World Bank has produced estimates of this return for 139 economies.
It varies from place to place, but is substantial everywhere. The
Economist’s analysis of the data finds that returns are linked to the
share of people with degrees, and the range of earnings. Returns in
Britain and Germany are similar to those in America. In sub-Saharan
Africa, where degrees are scarce and the least-educated workers earn
little, they are around 21% a year. In Scandinavia, where wages are less
unequal and two-fifths of adults have degrees, they are around 9%.

I left Harvard with no real awareness of the awful inequities in the
world – the appalling disparities of health, and wealth, and opportunity
that condemn millions of people to lives of despair.

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But as a guide to school-leavers considering going to university—and to
policymakers considering expanding access to higher education—the
graduate premium is flawed. Even within countries the average conceals
wide differences. Most students know that a degree in mathematics or
finance is likely to be more lucrative than one in music or social work.
What fewer realise is that the graduate premium overstates the financial
benefit of embarking on a degree if their school grades barely qualify
them for entry, no matter what they study.

I learned a lot here at Harvard about new ideas in economics and
politics. I got great exposure to the advances being made in the

Of course, no one person can hope to accomplish as much as a team of
people can. My university supports and amplifies the important work of
our faculty through a variety of centers and institutes. The Fairbank
Center for Chinese Studies, the Harvard Asia Center, the Harvard China
Fund: these initiatives have shaped how Harvard thinks about its
engagement with China in every dimension—from teaching and research to
exchange and collaboration. The oldest of these is the Harvard-Yenching
Institute, which got its start right here on the grounds of the old
Yenching University some 90 years ago, and which continues today to
support the training of outstanding young Chinese scholars in every
field. The Harvard Global Institute, the newest of our efforts, was
launched four years ago to provide funding for small- and large-scale
research projects, the majority of which are focused on China. Effective
approaches and solutions to challenges posed by climate change,
cybersecurity threats, and international relations will not be developed
by a single university—or a single nation. Change and adaptation in
these and other areas will require many people collaborating across
schools, sectors, and societies, as well as governments.

6. School shootings.

In a comparison of the earnings of people with degrees and people
without them, those who start university but do not finish are lumped in
with those who never started, even though they, too, will have paid fees
and missed out on earnings. Their numbers are considerable. In America
40% of college students fail to graduate with four-year degrees within
six years of enrolling. Drop-out rates across the developed world
average around 30%. It is the students admitted with the lowest grades
who are least likely to graduate.

But humanity’s greatest advances are not in its discoveries – but in how
those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity. Whether through
democracy, strong public education, quality health care, or broad
economic opportunity – reducing inequity is the highest human

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lump: to put (people or things) together or in the same group

I left campus knowing little about the millions of young people cheated
out of educational opportunities here in this country. And I knew
nothing about the millions of people living in unspeakable poverty and
disease in developing countries.

For this reason, how we choose to nurture human and intellectual capital
at this moment is extraordinarily consequential. At Harvard, we welcome
to our campus individuals from around the world who we believe will make
meaningful contributions to our community and to the wider world. This
year, over 1,000 students and more than 1,000 scholars have joined us
from China—the largest cohort from any nation. They are learning and
working in every School at the University. We also have more than 2,500
alumni who call China home. If Ge Kunhua were to return to Cambridge
today, no doubt he would be gratified to see that there are many Harvard
professors who, like him, were born in China and are now teaching at the
University; he would also be pleased, I think, to learn that Chinese is
the second-most widely studied foreign language at Harvard.

There have been high-profile protests by young people in the US in the
wake of school shootings. Harvard students backed calls to restrict
access to firearms, with almost nine in 10 supporting tighter gun

It took me decades to find out.

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You graduates came to Harvard at a different time. You know more about
the world’s inequities than the classes that came before. In your years
here, I hope you’ve had a chance to think about how – in this age of
accelerating technology – we can finally take on these inequities, and
we can solve them.

The numbers and examples I have just shared communicate important and
meaningful commitments, but they cannot fully capture what it means to
be a member of a university community. Each interaction that unfolds,
each relationship that blossoms on our campuses depends on both humility
and hope—a willingness to say to others “I do not know,” to look in the
same direction with them, and to imagine success—and risk failure—in the
joint pursuit of knowledge. The work of discovery and innovation is
messy and laborious. It requires creativity and imagination, but it
mainly requires hard work. Excellence is never achieved easily—and
nobody gets anywhere of consequence in this world on his or her own.

7. Smart students, smartphones.

Including dropouts when calculating the returns to going to university
makes a big difference. In a new book, “The Case Against Education”,
Bryan Caplan of George Mason University argues that the low graduation
rates of marginal students, and the fact that, for a given level of
qualification, cleverer people tend to earn more, mean that the return
on a four-year degree in America ranges from 6.5% for excellent students
to just 1% for the weakest ones.

Imagine, just for the sake of discussion, that you had a few hours a
week and a few dollars a month to donate to a cause – and you wanted to
spend that time and money where it would have the greatest impact in
saving and improving lives. Where would you spend it?

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Part of that difference is because the weakest students attend the worst
universities, where drop-out rates are highest. When they make it into
better institutions, the returns may be higher.In a study published in
2014 Seth Zimmerman of the University of Chicago compared the earnings
of school-leavers in Florida whose grades were close to the minimum for
admission to a good state university. Those just above the cut-off were
much more likely than those just below to start courses in good
institutions. They graduated at a rate similar to that of the broader
student population. They went on to earn considerably more than those
just below the cut-off, and their return on investment was substantial.

For Melinda and for me, the challenge is the same: how can we do the
most good for the greatest number with the resources we have.

People who seek and generate knowledge share a special connection across
time and that extends across space. I recall being a young faculty
member at MIT in the late 1970s and witnessing a historic visit from a
delegation of visiting scholars from China. Long separation had not
weakened the bonds of affection among students and their teachers or
faculty and their colleagues, some of whom had not seen each other for
decades. They greeted one another as if they had been apart for only a
short while and soon found themselves engaged again in areas of common
interest. It was powerful evidence to me that universities can be
sources of strength through tough economic, political, and social times.

This is a cohort of students completely immersed in digital technology.
Almost all of these new graduates own a smartphone, which are so
prevalent that they’re almost taken for granted. There is a strong bias
towards iPhones, used by 87% of those leaving Harvard, with 80% using
some other Apple computer device.

Overstating the graduate premium is not the only reason policymakers
overestimate the wider benefits of increasing the share of young people
who go to university. The usual way to calculate the social returns of
higher education is to sum up all the graduate premiums and subtract any
public subsidies. But degrees are in part a way to access a“positional
good” that benefits one person at the expense of another. Part of the
premium comes from gaining an advantage over others in the competition
for a good job, rather than the acquisition of productivity-boosting
skills and knowledge. A complete calculation would include not just
gains to graduates, but losses to non-graduates.

During our discussions on this question, Melinda and I read an article
about the millions of children who were dying every year in poor
countries from diseases that we had long ago made harmless in this
country. Measles, malaria, pneumonia, hepatitis B, yellow fever. One
disease I had never even heard of, rotavirus, was killing half a million
kids each year – none of them in the United States.

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Degrees are also signalling devices. The premium includes the
income-boosting effects of personal characteristics that are more likely
to be held by those with degrees, not because they acquired them at
university, but because they possessed them on admission.

We were shocked. We had just assumed that if millions of children were
dying and they could be saved, the world would make it a priority to
discover and deliver the medicines to save them. But it did not. For
under a dollar, there were interventions that could save lives that just
weren’t being delivered.

I am also reminded of the first Pugwash Conference on Science and World
Affairs. In 1957, as Cold War tensions mounted, twenty-two of the
world’s eminent scientists gathered in Nova Scotia to discuss the
development of thermonuclear weapons and the threat their use posed to
civilization. Their collective work helped to pave the way for the
Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963 and the Non-Proliferation Treaty of
1968, among other consequential agreements. There were twenty-two
attendees—seven from the United States, three from the Soviet Union,
three from Japan, two from the United Kingdom, two from Canada, and one
each from Australia, Austria, China, France, and Poland. Professor Zhou
Peiyuan, a physicist and the sole Chinese member of the group, later
became president of this great institution and, in 1978, led a
delegation that arranged for scholarly exchange between China and the
United States. We owe thanks to people like Professor Zhou Peiyuan for
their farsighted and courageous leadership and for putting peace and
mutual understanding above all other considerations.

8. Harvard introduced an honour code in which students promised not to
engage in academic cheating.


If you believe that every life has equal value, it’s revolting to learn
that some lives are seen as worth saving and others are not. We said to
ourselves: “This can’t be true. But if it is true, it deserves to be the
priority of our giving.”

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So we began our work in the same way anyone here would begin it. We
asked: “How could the world let these children die?”

As I speak to you now, our governments are engaged in important and at
times difficult discussions over a range of issues—and those discussions
have implications that reverberate around the world. I believe that
sustaining the bonds that join scholars across borders is of the utmost
importance for all of us gathered here today—and for anyone who cares
about the unique role that higher education plays in the lives of
countless people.

But this survey suggests that this has not changed behaviour and that
levels of cheating have remained broadly the same, with about a fifth of
students owning up to having cheated at some stage. Very few of these
say that this was detected.

As degrees have become more common, their importance as signalling
devices is rising. Recruiters, who pay none of the cost of jobseekers’
higher education, are increasingly able to demand degrees in order to
screen out the least motivated or competent. A recent study by Joseph
Fuller and Manjari Raman of Harvard Business School found that companies
routinely require applicants to have degrees, even though only a
minority of those already working in the role have them. This increases
the graduate premium—but by punishing non-graduates rather than boosting
the absolute returns to degrees.

The answer is simple, and harsh. The market did not reward saving the
lives of these children, and governments did not subsidize it. So the
children died because their mothers and their fathers had no power in
the market and no voice in the system.

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Analysis by The Economist of American census data finds that between
1970 and 2015 the share of workers aged 25-64 with at least a bachelor’s
degree increased in 256 out of 265 occupations. Some of these are
intellectually demanding jobs that changed a lot over that period, such
as aerospace engineer or statistician. Others are non-graduate jobs such
as waiting tables. Sixteen percent of waiters now have
degrees—presumably, in most cases, because they could not find a
graduate job.But other jobs that are mostly done by graduates, such as
journalism, nursing and teaching in primary schools, used to require
only shorter training, often received while working. Today, having a
degree is usually an entry requirement.

But you and I have both.

It is at crucial times like these that leading universities have a
special role to play. To be sure, Harvard is an American university, and
Beida is a Chinese university. Our institutions have a responsibility to
contribute positively to our own societies and to the national good, as
well as to the world at large. But as universities we fulfill this
charge precisely by embodying and defending academic values that
transcend the boundaries of any one country. I spoke about some of those
values when I delivered my inaugural presidential address in October. In
the audience were hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and
friends from Harvard, as well as delegates from 220 colleges and
universities from around the world. I thought I would share with you now
some of the thoughts I shared then.

9. Widening access.


We can make market forces work better for the poor if we can develop a
more creative capitalism – if we can stretch the reach of market forces
so that more people can make a profit, or at least make a living,
serving people who are suffering from the worst inequities. We also can
press governments around the world to spend taxpayer money in ways that
better reflect the values of the people who pay the taxes.

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The Economist has produced a measure of over-education by defining a
graduate job as one which was staffed mostly by degree-holders in 1970.
We find that just 35% of graduates work in such occupations today, down
from 51% 45 years ago.Judging by job titles alone, 26.5m workers in
America—two-thirds of those with degrees—are doing work that was mostly
done by non-graduates a half-century ago.

If we can find approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that
generate profits for business and votes for politicians, we will have
found a sustainable way to reduce inequity in the world.

Great universities stand for truth, and the pursuit of truth demands
perpetual effort. Truth has to be discovered, revealed through argument
and experiment, tested on the anvil of opposing explanations and ideas.
This is precisely the function of a great university, where scholars in
every field and discipline debate and marshal evidence in support of
their theories, as they strive to understand and explain our world.

Entrance to top universities is always controversial. More than 60% back
the principle of affirmative action and prioritising the admission of
some students based on ethnicity. It was most popular among black and
Hispanic graduates and least popular among Asian and white graduates.

That calculation exaggerates the trend.Advances in technology have
doubtless made some of these jobs more demanding.But not all of them, at
least judging by pay. We find only a weak link between higher shares of
graduates in an occupation and higher salaries. For around half of the
occupations that employ higher shares of graduates now than a
half-century ago, real wages have fallen.

This task is open-ended. It can never be finished. But a conscious
effort to answer this challenge will change the world.

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Andreas Schleicher, the head of education research at the OECD, reckons
that “countries have skills shortages, not degree shortages”. The way
universities have come to monopolise higher education, he says, is a
problem in part because universities do not suit all kinds of learners.
And university dropouts tend to see little in the way of financial
benefit from the part of their course that they have finished.

I am optimistic that we can do this, but I talk to skeptics who claim
there is no hope. They say: “Inequity has been with us since the
beginning, and will be with us till the end – because people just …
don’t … care.”

This search for truth has always required courage, both in the sciences,
where those who seek to shift paradigms have often initially met with
ridicule, banishment, and worse, and in the social sciences, arts, and
humanities, where scholars have often had to defend their ideas from
political attacks on all sides.

10. What next?

One promising development is that of“micro-credentials” or
“nano-degrees”—short vocational courses, often in computing and IT.
Udacity, an online education company, offers a variety,including one in
self-driving cars approved by Uber and Mercedes-Benz, and another on
digital marketing approved by Facebook and Google. EdX, a collaboration
between MIT, Harvard and other leading universities, offers similar
courses free. Students can take exams to prove their mastery of the
material for a few hundred dollars.

I completely disagree.

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I believe we have more caring than we know what to do with.

It is no wonder, then, that transformational thought and action often
take root on university campuses. Overturning conventional wisdom takes
a remarkable amount of grit and determination, as well as a willingness
to welcome contrary views and to risk being proved wrong. Great
universities nurture these qualities. They are places where individuals
are encouraged both to listen and to speak, where the value of an idea
is discussed and debated—not suppressed or silenced.

These graduates are entering an era of polarised views. These new
high-flyers are not going to be spread across the country – they’re
planning careers that will see them clustering in three areas, New York,
Massachusetts and California. About a 10th expect to head overseas. The
biggest job destinations immediately after college are consulting,
finance and technology. But if this gives a picture of where the new
money will be made, 60% of the new graduates still expect to be
depending on money from their parents.


All of us here in this Yard, at one time or another, have seen human
tragedies that broke our hearts, and yet we did nothing – not because we
didn’t care, but because we didn’t know what to do. If we had known how
to help, we would have acted.

If we stand for truth, we must appreciate diversity in every possible
dimension. We must invite into our communities those people who
challenge our thinking—and listen to them. Most of all, we must embrace
the difficult task of being quick to understand and slow to judge.


The barrier to change is not too little caring; it is too much

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Boot campus

To turn caring into action, we need to see a problem, see a solution,
and see the impact. But complexity blocks all three steps.

I have been president of Harvard for less than a year. In that short
span of time, no less than half a dozen controversial issues have arisen
on our campus, generating impassioned discussions—and even some spirited
arguments and public protests—among students, faculty, and staff, as
well as alumni and friends of the University. Such arguments can cause
discomfort. But they are signs of a healthy community and of active and
engaged citizenship. In fact, it would be unusual and, frankly,
unsettling if a semester went by without any episode of disagreement.
When conflict does arise, it forces us to ask: What kind of community do
we want to be? And that question sustains and strengthens us—and
enriches our search for truth.

For now, such courses are mostly add-ons to degrees, rather than
replacements. Three-quarters of edX’s students already had a bachelor’s
degree upon enrolling. But the collaboration with sought-after employers
makes it more plausible that they could eventually become established as
a stand-alone testament to a job applicant’s worth.

Even with the advent of the Internet and 24-hour news, it is still a
complex enterprise to get people to truly see the problems. When an
airplane crashes, officials immediately call a press conference. They
promise to investigate, determine the cause, and prevent similar crashes
in the future.

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In the meantime the decision not to go to university remains risky, even
though many graduates will end up doing work that used to be done by
non-graduates—or struggle to find a job at all. Around half of
unemployed South Koreans now have degrees. For them, the very concept of
a “graduate premium” may seem a mockery. Kim Hyang Suk, a recruiter in
South Korea, says that half the applicants for customer-service jobs at
her firm are graduates, even though only a secondary-school education is

But if the officials were brutally honest, they would say: “Of all the
people in the world who died today from preventable causes, one half of
one percent of them were on this plane. We’re determined to do
everything possible to solve the problem that took the lives of the one
half of one percent.”

In many circumstances, my role as president is not to define the
“correct” position of the University but to keep the channels of
discussion open. From a distance, Harvard can appear to be a place that
speaks in one voice. It is, in fact, a place of many voices. And one of
the most important—and most difficult—of our tasks is to ensure that all
members of the community feel empowered to speak their minds.

She would prefer school-leavers with experience, says Ms Kim, to
inexperienced graduates whom she will have to train. She is not looking
for swots, but people who are “engaging, good on the phone”. But when
few employers are this open-minded, most young people will want a
degree. It may not boost their earnings as much as they had hoped, but
without one, they will probably fare even worse.

The bigger problem is not the plane crash, but the millions of
preventable deaths.

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We don’t read much about these deaths. The media covers what’s new – and
millions of people dying is nothing new. So it stays in the background,
where it’s easier to ignore. But even when we do see it or read about
it, it’s difficult to keep our eyes on the problem. It’s hard to look at
suffering if the situation is so complex that we don’t know how to help.
And so we look away.

Changing our communities—changing the world—is our responsibility. One
of the most popular classes at Harvard College is an ethical reasoning
course called Classical Chinese Ethical and Political Theory—425
undergraduates took it last semester. When the professor who teaches the
course was asked if he had any advice for students at Harvard, he said,
and I quote, “The world we’re living in has been created by human
activities, and if we’re not happy with the world we’re living in, it’s
up to us to change it. Never fall into the danger of thinking this just
is the way things are. The world is always changing.”


If we can really see a problem, which is the first step, we come to the
second step: cutting through the complexity to find a solution.

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Finding solutions is essential if we want to make the most of our
caring. If we have clear and proven answers anytime an organization or
individual asks “How can I help?,” then we can get action – and we can
make sure that none of the caring in the world is wasted. But complexity
makes it hard to mark a path of action for everyone who cares — and that
makes it hard for their caring to matter.

Great universities stand not just for truth, but for excellence. At my
inauguration, I focused on the remarkable array of pursuits to which
students and faculty apply their considerable talents. Brilliance is
demonstrated not only in classrooms and laboratories, but also around
dinner tables, on playing fields, and on the stage. Living and learning
with others creates opportunities to change and grow, opportunities that
may not exist in other contexts. It is important to embrace diversity
because we learn from our differences. Universities would be dull places
indeed if everyone shared the same backgrounds, interests, experiences,
and ideas.

亚洲必赢官网app( ,Cutting through complexity to find a solution runs through four
predictable stages: determine a goal, find the highest-leverage
approach, discover the ideal technology for that approach, and in the
meantime, make the smartest application of the technology that you
already have — whether it’s something sophisticated, like a drug, or
something simpler, like a bednet.

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The AIDS epidemic offers an example. The broad goal, of course, is to
end the disease. The highest-leverage approach is prevention. The ideal
technology would be a vaccine that gives lifetime immunity with a single
dose. So governments, drug companies, and foundations fund vaccine
research. But their work is likely to take more than a decade, so in the
meantime, we have to work with what we have in hand – and the best
prevention approach we have now is getting people to avoid risky

I am often asked to share the secret of Harvard’s excellence. Whatever
we accomplish, we accomplish with the help of others. Without the
world’s other excellent institutions of higher education to challenge
and inspire us, without others to learn from and work with, we could not
be nearly as successful as we are. The United States alone is home to
some four thousand colleges and universities, and they are remarkably
diverse. Some are devoted entirely to undergraduate education, others to
undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies. Some are focused on a
single academic area—art or music, for example—while others advance a
wide variety of fields and disciplines. Each of them competes for talent
and resources; all of them look to one another for examples of where and
how they might improve.

Lexile®Measure: 1200L – 1300L

Pursuing that goal starts the four-step cycle again. This is the
pattern. The crucial thing is to never stop thinking and working – and
never do what we did with malaria and tuberculosis in the 20th century –
which is to surrender to complexity and quit.

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Mean Sentence Length: 19.10

The final step – after seeing the problem and finding an approach – is
to measure the impact of your work and share your successes and failures
so that others learn from your efforts.

Harvard is no exception. We learn from our neighbors near and far. We
are exploring with partners at MIT the opportunities to improve access
to our educational resources through technology. EdX, our joint online
learning platform, is opening up educational opportunities to more than
18 million learners and counting. They, in turn, offered us new insights
into the science of learning.

Mean Log Word Frequency: 3.31

You have to have the statistics, of course. You have to be able to show
that a program is vaccinating millions more children. You have to be
able to show a decline in the number of children dying from these
diseases. This is essential not just to improve the program, but also to
help draw more investment from business and government.

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Word Count:1600

But if you want to inspire people to participate, you have to show more
than numbers; you have to convey the human impact of the work – so
people can feel what saving a life means to the families affected.

Along with HarvardX courses, such students take PekingX courses that
have covered everything from folklore, grammar, and music to drug
discovery, nutrition, and robotics since Beida joined our effort in


I remember going to Davos some years back and sitting on a global health
panel that was discussing ways to save millions of lives. Millions!
Think of the thrill of saving just one person’s life – then multiply
that by millions. … Yet this was the most boring panel I’ve ever been on
– ever. So boring even I couldn’t bear it.

  1. You have reached hundreds of thousands more people than you would
    have otherwise. Sharing the riches of learning more broadly is one of my
    aspirations for Harvard and for all of higher education. Our excellence
    can—and should—help to make the world better for individuals who may
    never set foot on our campuses.


What made that experience especially striking was that I had just come
from an event where we were introducing version 13 of some piece of
software, and we had people jumping and shouting with excitement. I love
getting people excited about software – but why can’t we generate even
more excitement for saving lives?

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You can’t get people excited unless you can help them see and feel the
impact. And how you do that – is a complex question.

Finally, great universities stand for opportunity. My parents came to
the United States as refugees. My father arrived as a child after
escaping the pogroms of Eastern Europe. My mother survived the Nazi
concentration camp at Auschwitz. As new immigrants in a foreign country,
they saw clearly the importance of education and, having worked hard
themselves to gain an education, encouraged me in my own studies.
Without education, I would not be here today speaking with all of you.
Attending college enabled my success, just as it has enabled the success
of countless other people. I want to ensure that young people in China
and every part of the world understand a simple truth: If you want to
get ahead, education is the vehicle that will take you there.

Still, I’m optimistic. Yes, inequity has been with us forever, but the
new tools we have to cut through complexity have not been with us
forever. They are new – they can help us make the most of our caring –
and that’s why the future can be different from the past.

Our institutions must continue to stand for those values which have
distinguished us throughout our long histories: truth, excellence, and
opportunity. And we must sustain and strengthen the collegial bonds that
enable our work together on behalf of the entire world.

The defining and ongoing innovations of this age – biotechnology, the
computer, the Internet – give us a chance we’ve never had before to end
extreme poverty and end death from preventable disease.

I wish to leave you today with the words of one of China’s great modern
poets, Abdurehim ?tkür:

Sixty years ago, George Marshall came to this commencement and announced
a plan to assist the nations of post-war Europe. He said: “I think one
difficulty is that the problem is one of such enormous complexity that
the very mass of facts presented to the public by press and radio make
it exceedingly difficult for the man in the street to reach a clear
appraisement of the situation. It is virtually impossible at this
distance to grasp at all the real significance of the situation.”

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Thirty years after Marshall made his address, as my class graduated
without me, technology was emerging that would make the world smaller,
more open, more visible, less distant.

Along life’s road I have always sought truth,

The emergence of low-cost personal computers gave rise to a powerful
network that has transformed opportunities for learning and

In the search for verity, thought was always my guide.

The magical thing about this network is not just that it collapses
distance and makes everyone your neighbor. It also dramatically
increases the number of brilliant minds we can have working together on
the same problem – and that scales up the rate of innovation to a
staggering degree.

My heart yearned without end for a chance of expression,

At the same time, for every person in the world who has access to this
technology, five people don’t. That means many creative minds are left
out of this discussion — smart people with practical intelligence and
relevant experience who don’t have the technology to hone their talents
or contribute their ideas to the world.

And longed to find words of meaning and grace.

We need as many people as possible to have access to this technology,
because these advances are triggering a revolution in what human beings
can do for one another. They are making it possible not just for
national governments, but for universities, corporations, smaller
organizations, and even individuals to see problems, see approaches, and
measure the impact of their efforts to address the hunger, poverty, and
desperation George Marshall spoke of 60 years ago.

Come, my friends, let our dialogue joyfully begin.

Members of the Harvard Family: Here in the Yard is one of the great
collections of intellectual talent in the world.

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What for?

Harvard University and Peking University are on the same road together.
We will continue to seek meaning and grace through relationships created
and nurtured by our faculty and our students. May we continue to learn
from one another and grow in knowledge and wisdom. Thank you, again, for
welcoming me so warmly today. It has truly been an honor—and my
pleasure. May our dialogue joyfully endure.

There is no question that the faculty, the alumni, the students, and the
benefactors of Harvard have used their power to improve the lives of
people here and around the world. But can we do more? Can Harvard
dedicate its intellect to improving the lives of people who will never
even hear its name?

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Let me make a request of the deans and the professors – the intellectual
leaders here at Harvard: As you hire new faculty, award tenure, review
curriculum, and determine degree requirements, please ask yourselves:

本文转自: 印度孟买理工科核心新加坡、北大

Should our best minds be dedicated to solving our biggest problems?

Should Harvard encourage its faculty to take on the world’s worst
inequities? Should Harvard students learn about the depth of global
poverty … the prevalence of world hunger … the scarcity of clean water
…the girls kept out of school … the children who die from diseases we
can cure?

Should the world’s most privileged people learn about the lives of the
world’s least privileged?

These are not rhetorical questions – you will answer with your policies.

My mother, who was filled with pride the day I was admitted here – never
stopped pressing me to do more for others. A few days before my wedding,
she hosted a bridal event, at which she read aloud a letter about
marriage that she had written to Melinda. My mother was very ill with
cancer at the time, but she saw one more opportunity to deliver her
message, and at the close of the letter she said: “From those to whom
much is given, much is expected.”

When you consider what those of us here in this Yard have been given –
in talent, privilege, and opportunity – there is almost no limit to what
the world has a right to expect from us.

In line with the promise of this age, I want to exhort each of the
graduates here to take on an issue – a complex problem, a deep inequity,
and become a specialist on it. If you make it the focus of your career,
that would be phenomenal. But you don’t have to do that to make an
impact. For a few hours every week, you can use the growing power of the
Internet to get informed, find others with the same interests, see the
barriers, and find ways to cut through them.

Don’t let complexity stop you. Be activists. Take on the big inequities.
It will be one of the great experiences of your lives.

You graduates are coming of age in an amazing time. As you leave
Harvard, you have technology that members of my class never had. You
have awareness of global inequity, which we did not have. And with that
awareness, you likely also have an informed conscience that will torment
you if you abandon these people whose lives you could change with very
little effort.

You have more than we had; you must start sooner, and carry on longer.

Knowing what you know, how could you not?

And I hope you will come back here to Harvard 30 years from now and
reflect on what you have done with your talent and your energy. I hope
you will judge yourselves not on your professional accomplishments
alone, but also on how well you have addressed the world’s deepest
inequities … on how well you treated people a world away who have
nothing in common with you but their humanity.

Good luck.