A US Congresswoman's charge
Take on mantle of national leadership and excellence, Yvette Clarke tells NCU graduates
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — United States Congresswoman Yvette Diane Clarke delivered a clear message to over 900 graduates of the Mandeville-based Northern Caribbean University (NCU) on Sunday.
Clarke told those who will enter the job market soon, that the challenges of the new millennium were considerable, and suggested that they had a responsibility to make a difference to the development of the nation, as a path was paved for them to be able to access the opportunities.
"To the young scholars here present today, note that you have been uniquely educated and positioned to take on the mantle of the next generation of national leadership and excellence. This day, highly anticipated, never ever to be duplicated, worthy to be celebrated, was but a dream of our predecessors. Your presence here today was pre-determined by a people whose wealth was immaterial but whose faith was worth more than gold," she said.
Clarke was speaking at the first of two commencement ceremonies at NCU where she was conferred with the Honorary Doctor of Public Service.
Her understanding of national issues stems from her Jamaican and American heritage, and as such she identified herself as a "Jamerican".
Clarke's mother Una ST Clarke was born and raised in St Elizabeth and is a former City Council member in the United States.
"Prior to being elected to the US House of Representatives, Clarke served on the New York City Council representing the 40th District in Brooklyn. She succeeded her pioneering mother, making them the first mother-daughter succession in the history of the Council," said her profile.
Sporadically interspersing her presentation with Jamaican creole, she urged the graduates to lend their expertise to impacting serious issues which remain unresolved not only in Jamaica but globally.
Clarke noted a system of injustice of income inequality within and between nations and the impact of global climate change on Small Island Developing States among the concerns that she felt needed to be addressed.
For her part, she said that as a leader of the Caribbean Congress in the United States House of Representatives she has worked to strengthen and build upon the connections and linkages that bind the United States and Jamaica.
She said that the persons in the Caribbean caucus also feel a special responsibility to reform the United States Immigration Laws.
Clarke said that there are millions of first and second generation immigrants and their descendants who are interested in investing in Jamaica and that interest should be developed into action.
Other honorees at the graduation at the Northern Caribbean University were businessman Antony Keith Edmund Hart who was the recipient for the Honorary Doctor of Commerce, and retired ministers Cecil Roy Perry and William A Kirlew the Honorary Doctor of Religion and Theology Degree.