Today, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a commencement speech to New York University’s graduating class that encouraged students to be leaders who are accepting of diverse view points.
“Here’s the challenge I’m offering you today,” he told graduates at New York’s Yankee Stadium. “Our celebration of difference needs to extend to differences of values and beliefs, too. Diversity includes political and cultural diversity. It includes diversity of perspectives and approaches to solving problems.”
Trudeau explained to the students that in order to ease some of the political divisions we face today, they will have to step outside of their own “ideological bubble” and work together.
“As you go forward from this place, I would like you to make a point of reaching out to people whose beliefs and values differ from your own,” he said. “Listen, truly listen, and try to understand them, and find that common ground.”
He advised students to ask themselves one simple question when thinking about how they will impact the future: “Do you want to win an argument, or do you want to change the world?”
“There is no shortage of cynicism and selfishness in the world,” he added. “Be their answer, their antidote. I am abundantly optimistic about the future because of you. It is yours to make and mold and shape.”
In addition to addressing the class of 2018 students, 46-year-old Trudeau was also awarded with an honorary doctor of law degree from NYU.
The university praised him for being a prime minister who is focused on embracing “Canada’s rich diversity, fighting climate change and achieving reconciliation with indigenous peoples.” The institution also recognized him as a “proud feminist” and applauded him for appointing Canada’s first gender-balanced cabinet.
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