Malagasy leaders encourage students to stay true to their principles
By Kim Chaudoin on 5/11/2012
A message from Madagascar’s former ambassador to the U.S. Jocelyn Radifera
This is a transcript of a message given by Radifera at a dinner honoring the Malagasy students on Friday, May 4.
Good evening everyone.
First of all I would like to thank Dr. Lowry for inviting my wife and me to this auspicious occasion.
I would also like to thank Dr. Thomas for his tireless attention and devotion to the Malagasy students. He nurtured them as he would have done for his own children during their entire time at Lipscomb University. He has been indispensible to their growth.
My fellow Malagasy compatriots,
How glorious you must be feeling for your accomplishments. I can hardly believe that it has been four years since you came to Lipscomb. What a life journey this has been for you.
I know of the strong bonds that have developed between you and the wonderful people of Lipscomb. You could not have gone to a better place to learn all that have learned, and I am not only talking about academics, but also of Christian values. The lessons of love, friendship, understanding, family, etc. you have learned well here. You have been taken into the homes and hearts of so many host families in Nashville. You have been comforted through loss of loved ones, through home sickness, and through uncertainty.
Tomorrow will be a bittersweet day for you. You have dreamed of this day for a long time, but maybe some of you have dreaded it. You are leaving your comfort zone and all that is familiar to you. You will be leaving those who have nurtured you over the past years. And now you are wondering what is ahead for you. Many, many graduates will be facing this same question. In these times of uncertainty, economic downturn, and political uncertainty, these questions are not easily answered.
Be of good faith and know that there is no road that you cannot travel. You have to be strong in your dreams and determination. Do not be small in your dreams. Dream big and be determined to conquer all adversities. Take risks, because if you don’t, you will never know what might have been. Be brave and as Robert Frost said “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.”
As you think about your future and your career, dare to be different. Don’t worry about everything falling into place immediately. Life and Mother Nature have ways of working things out in unexpected ways. Sometimes an opportunity presents itself and you may think that this is just the thing for you, but if it doesn’t work out, you are disappointed. Chances are, if it did work out, you may have been stuck in a rut, whereas through disappointment, you followed other venues and worked harder, and voila, who knows you may be the next Steve Jobs. Do not take closed doors as obstacles or failure. Push harder, strive more, and watch the doors open.
Just know that the excellent education you have received here at Lipscomb, the friends and spiritual values you have acquired, have prepared you for success in whatever you do.
Go out into the world undaunted. You have it in you to make a difference. Believe in yourself. Defend your beliefs. Be a friend to mankind. Help others. The results will be amazing.
Congratulations to all of you once again. May God bless you each and every one of you.
A message from former president of Madagascar Marc Ravalomanana