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Adla’s Inspiring Speech

Adla - WomenCAN Australia
Read or listen to, Project Manager, Adla's inspiring graduation speech
Adla - WomenCAN Australia

Adla Alnazer, WomenCAN Australia Project Manager, recently graduated from the University of Melbourne.

Please take a few minutes to read or listen to her inspiring graduation speech…


Graduates and guests, esteemed faculty, and proud families

18 months ago, I walked through Melbourne University’s main gate as an overwhelmed international student. Today, I will exit this gateway alongside my fellow graduates after we have committed ourselves to the pursuit of knowledge, personal development, and a shared dedication to serving humanity.

Our journey at this prestigious institution has been transformative, challenging, and undoubtedly rewarding. And All we needed was courage.

While we are on the topic of courage, Let me share with you a short story from my Palestinian and Islamic heritage.

In Islam, during drought periods in the winter time, we engage in special prayers known as “استسقاء” or seeking rainfall. In this prayer, men have to walk a distance until they can’t see the town before they stop and pray. One year, when despair had settled upon the hearts of our community, the religious leader, the Imam, called for prayer, so men gathered outside the town. And among the crowd there was a child, unlike everyone else, this child was the only one carrying an umbrella, simply because he believed if he prayed, it would rain.

In less than two months, my journey will take me back to Palestine. Not because the situation is ideal, but because I am driven by a shared aspiration with each one of you — a commitment to make a positive difference in the lives of those we hold dear. As we return to our communities, just like that determined child, we will be carrying our own umbrellas, and on the little handles of these umbrellas it reads “The University of Melbourne.”

Change can be achieved by committing ourselves to fostering a world where every individual can live free from the fear of oppression and injustice. Together, let us strive to be voices for the voiceless.

Dear friends, it has been said many times before that “history is only made by the very brave”. And one thing I’m sure of today is that in this room there are some of the bravest I’ve ever met. I have no doubt that many of us will leave today to change the course of the future.

In the end, it is crucial to express our heartfelt gratitude for the unwavering support of our families, friends and distinguished academics.

Congratulations, Class of 2023. Let us step into the future with open hearts, sharp minds, and a commitment to making this world a better place.

Now, to commemorate our journey at the University, I would like us to do one last thing together, as a cohort. I now invite all my peers here to stand up and join me in reciting the Graduates Pledge. Please say it with me:

As a University of Melbourne graduate, I pledge to respect the place in which I live and work, and the cultures that came before me and will come after me.

I will strive to achieve excellence in what I do, holding myself and people around me accountable for our actions and behaviour.

As a global citizen, I pledge to value our vibrant and diverse society, and will uphold the values of inclusion, tolerance and integrity at every opportunity.

I pledge to use my education to build and enrich my community, and make a positive difference for current and future generations.

Thank you, and best of luck.

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