Fareed Zakaria’s Harvard Commencement Speech

I am a huge fan of writer and television host Dr. Fareed Zakaria. His work is always insightful and seems to approach whatever the subject matter is from all angles.

So imagine how excited I was to hear that Dr. Zakaria was giving the commencement speech for Harvard’s graduating 2012 class! I watched the speech on YouTube this morning and he absolutely rocked it. Commencement speeches are tough. For a commencement speech to be done right, one needs to strike the right balance between inspiration, humor, and insight. Many fail. Zakaria soars.

My favorite snippet is below; with a video of the complete speech underneath. Enjoy and let me know your favorite line!

Now you might listen to me and say “This is all wonderful for the world at large, but what does this mean for America?” Well, for America and for most places, peace and broader prosperity — “the rise of the rest” — means more opportunities. I remind you that this is a country that still has the largest and most dynamic economy in the world, that dominates the age of technology, that hosts hundreds of the world’s greatest companies, that houses its largest, deepest capital markets, and that has almost all of the world’s greatest universities. There is no equivalent of Harvard in China or India, nor will there be one for decades, perhaps longer.

The United States is also a vital society. It is the only country in the industrialized world that is demographically vibrant. We add 3,000,000 people to the country every year. That itself is a powerful life force, and it is made stronger by the fact that so many of these people are immigrants. They — I should say we — come to this country with aspirations, with hunger, with drive, with determination, and with a fierce love for America. By 2050, America will have a better demographic profile than China. This country has its problems, but I would rather have America’s problems than most any other place in the world.


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