Zelenskyy surprises Johns Hopkins graduates as first speaker: NPR
Will Kirk/Johns Hopkins University via AP
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an appearance at Johns Hopkins University as he delivered a surprise speech to the Class of 2023 at their commencement ceremony on Thursday morning.
Zelenskyy spoke in a live video feed from Ukraine that aired at Homewood Field on the University of Baltimore campus, where he also received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the President of Johns Hopkins University. , Ron Daniels.
In his 10-minute speech, Zelenskyy centered his remarks on the importance of time, in addition to the indispensable ideals of freedom, self-determination and democracy.
Zelenskyy’s appearance at the commencement ceremony came as a surprise to those in attendance, the university said in a press release.
“One of the most common truisms on Earth is the advice to value or at least not waste time,” Zelensky said in his speech. “Everyone eventually realizes that time is the most precious resource on the planet – not oil or uranium, not lithium or anything else, but time.”
The Ukrainian president thanked the United States and the Biden administration for their unconditional support for his country in the war against Russia.
“I am proud that Ukraine does not lose a single day in its defense against Russian terrorism. Every day we do everything, everything to become stronger, to give more protection to people, to save more lives”, said Zelenskyy. “The United States also did not waste a single day in helping Ukraine repel Russian aggression.
Zelenskyy compared the graduates to those who fought on the front lines during the war – as many are the same age and have also completed or plan to complete their education.
“They and you have similar hopes for life, similar expectations for life,” he said. “But there is [a] fundamental difference which boils down to the question of time.”
The university said Zelenskyy had accepted an invitation to speak earlier this year on behalf of Ukraine and “in defense of democratic values that allow peace, opportunity and freedom to flourish.” flourish all over the world”.
Zelenskyy’s commencement speech at Johns Hopkins marks his first speech on a US college campus since May 2022, about three months after Russia invaded Ukraine.
In a May 2022 address to students at Stanford University, Zelenskyy reminded the public to pursue their passions after graduation, which those drafted into war would not have the chance to do.
“I would like to wish all students, I would like to wish you a long and interesting life in what you do – in science, in journalism, in art, in any [you do]”, he said in that speech. “I would sincerely wish you peace.”
Zelenskyy debuted as an actor and comedian who played a fictional president in the Ukrainian TV series servant of the people. Shortly after the streak ended in 2019, he was elected Ukraine’s sixth president.