Graduate School of International Relations Valedictorian: Mai Thuy Linh

International University of Japan Graduation Ceremony 2019

Good morning honored guests, President Itami, Dean Yamaguchi, Associate Dean Myoe and Dean Li, all faculty, academic and supporting staff, friends, family, and all of you, graduates, the class of 2019.

It is my great honor to stand before you all today as a representative of GSIR class 2019 and deliver the valediction.

Before I get started my speech, let me say to my fellows from the class of 2019. Congratulations, we made it. Finally, we can graduate from this school and become beloved alumni. Today is our last day as master students. This is a good and bad thing. It’s a good thing because we could avoid homework and exams for the rest of our lives, I hope. No more fear of failing the courses. No more rush running for the school bus. No more yellow cards for partying in dorms overnight and no more paying fine for forgetting our stuff in the kitchens. How cool it would be. But it’s also a bad thing because we no longer can get a gakuwari for a cheaper shinkansen. I know, it’s not really nice though.

First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to my supervisor Prof. Hideaki Goto who has given so much to me so that I could motivationally submit my thesis on time, and get a free pass to travel to Koide today and attend the graduation ceremony. I would like to extend our gratitude to all the faculty of IUJ for being our supervisors, lectures and for passing your vast knowledge and experience to us, for your patience, understanding and precious guidance. Without your support, we would not have made it to this point of life. Thank you.

Thank you to OAA and OSS, OGA and of course Energy center who kept us warm in heavy snowfall days, and all IUJ staff including MLIC, dorm staff, for all your kind assistance and friendly behaviors towards us. Thank you shukudo and schoolshop team for feeding us, especially throughout exam days, and for being our convenience all the time. We really appreciate it.

I also would like to thank my family who could not be here in person today for giving me strong inspiration, encouragement and unconditional love to overcome every difficulty. And thank all of you, graduates and friends, for being always by my side. We together sit here proud graduates today.

My sincere thank also goes to the Government of Japan for giving us the privilege to study at IUJ and achieve our goals today. Thank you.

Think about how far we have come individually and as a class. Looking back to our first day in IUJ, it seems like it was just yesterday. You may never forget your first class, your first teacher, your first girlfriend, your second girlfriend, your third girlfriend, if you’re attractive enough, maybe.

Our time here together as a graduate will not be remembered by grades, popularity, likes or favorites, but by our relationships. IUJ – “where the world gathers”. Our IUJ is indeed unique for its diverse environment with people from different backgrounds, countries, races, and religion. We come to live and study together. We learn from each other. We support each other. I cannot remember how many times my friend had to tell me to stop Facebook and stay focused on my thesis writing. We are here spending sleepless nights together, of course for studying, cramming for exams and sometimes for partying, or many times actually. Speaking of the uniqueness of IUJ, if someone asks me “How do you enjoy your life in IUJ?”, I will say IUJ is the place when you tell others that you’re going to hang out with your friends, it means you are going to “supa”, or Aeon. These two are probably trendy addresses where we spend our leisure time here. But this could not make IUJ become boring. In contrast, we will never forget our wonderful moments together joining a variety of events in IUJ, not only academic affairs, but also sport and cultural activities, our shared traditional dinners, and of courses, our pen down parties. We’ll miss the amazing feeling after finishing all exams each semester. To be honest, I’ve started to feel empty without any deadline ahead.

“Graduation, a conclusion of one chapter, a beginning of another”, said Catherine Pulsifer. Yes, today we are here at the end of our academic journey, but our challenger journey just begins. Today the graduation day is the proof that we are prepared to deal with challenges. So, do not worry, class of 2019, because worrying never solves the problems and it never moves us an inch closer to bright future. The best remedy to solve problems is something we have all been doing, it’s the reason why we are here today, and that is hard work. We will work hard, we’ll face challenges, and we’ll solve them because that is what we’ve learned to do at IUJ. There is nothing in life more amazing than witnessing the fruitful result of our hard work. Everyone here today is a winner. Be willing to go through whatever comes along to get you what you want.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all the very, very, very best.

Congratulations again and thank you!