Chancellor, Vice-chancellor, members of the faculty, fellow graduates, friends… Good morning
I am flattered and humbled by the enormous outpouring of love and respect I have been accorded here at Lovely Professional University, and in India as a whole, since my arrival yesterday afternoon.
It is a great honour to stand before you today as the recipient of this Honorary Doctorate from an institution that is not only the largest University in India, but also one of the most progressive universities in the world.
My countrymen and women are delighted that you would have selected their servant leader, to be the recipient of this award, and to serve as Chief Guest of this Convocation Ceremony.
I dedicate this prestigious and most humbling conferral of Doctor of Literature, Honoris Causa, to the outstanding young men and women, who were celebrated earlier in the program, for their diligence and hard work, in the pursuit of knowledge. And, to the dedicated young men and women back home, in the Commonwealth of Dominica, who share the same hopes and dreams as you share here today.
To members of the graduating class, I say to you that the futures of Punjab, India, the Continent of Asia and the world as a whole, are brighter and more assured this morning, as a consequence of your acquired skills and the positive attitudes you are bringing to your respective fields of professional endeavor.
I congratulate each of you for staying the course, in a world today, where the popular action of choice, is that of quitting, when the going gets tough.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I also salute Chancellor Ashok Mittal, the Governing Body, the outstanding faculty, and the staff of Lovely Professional University for their dedication to you, the aspiring student.
It is a great honour to receive this tribute from an institution that has been instrumental in shaping the minds of India. Chancellor Mittal, you and your team have been an integral part in nurturing, harnessing and shaping these young people to be the future leaders of our world.
Indeed, from what I have researched, witnessed here this morning and gleaned from my interactions with Chancellor Mittal and members of the faculty, I hope you would not find it presumptuous of me to propose an addition to the motto of this institution, so that it would read - Transforming Education, Transforming India, Transforming The World! ...For I do believe that Lovely Professional University is now poised to enter the global arena, as a major international force in adult education and training!
Graduates, you are about to step out and to face the real test – the world out there! A place without course lists and recommended readings.
This will be both daunting and exciting, but more than anything, you must ensure that the next stage of this journey counts.
Let your dreams drive your way forward – and remind yourself, from time to time, that you too can become Prime Minister, CEO or Professor of your world.
Some may ask, 'But how can this be done'?
As Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, I consider myself duly qualified to proffer an answer.
Dominica, though physically small in comparison to India, and with a population of just 71,000, is a nation geared to develop and empower our youth to be leaders. We seek to achieve this by diversifying our sectors, by teaching our children to become multicultural individuals, and to develop a belief in themselves so that they can navigate their way in the world.
Dominica, one of the lesser-known Caribbean islands, is full of potential for growth. Dominica is now establishing itself as an international business hub for interesting investment opportunities.
We are the country of choice for thousands of entrepreneurs, professionals, billionaires and international families from around the world.
Dominica, is also home to one of the most celebrated offshore medical schools in the world today.
Thirty-eight (38) years ago, the founders of Ross University did their research and chose Dominica, over hundreds of other possible destinations, as the site for its medical campus. Student enrollment then was seven. Today, student enrollment is One Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty-eight.......and the expansion continues.
Ross University has since been incorporated into the DeVry family of educational institutions, spanning some Fifty-five 55 campuses internationally.
That is the story of Ross University today. In a decade from now, it could also be the story of Lovely Professional University of Punjab, India.
Incidentally, a significant component of both the faculty and campus population at Ross University in Dominica, travel to our beautiful island direct from India. There are also students of Indian descent who journey from Canada, the United States and parts of Europe....and who have found Dominica a most hospitable place to reside.
Many persons I met and with whom I spoke yesterday and this morning, alluded to the fact that they had friends and relatives who had visited or who were educated on Dominica. So in an amazing way, Ladies and Gentlemen, there is already a level of collaboration between the young people of India and residents of Dominica.
Indeed, as I speak to you at this hour, there are hundreds of Dominicans viewing this Convocation Ceremony live via Internet stream, and you would be amazed to know that it is approximately two o'clock in the morning back at home. Many Dominicans, at home and in the Diaspora, set their alarm clocks and arose from their slumber, to be a part of this special occasion. So the love is there, my Brothers and Sisters!
I invite the Chancellor and Board of Governors of this vaulted institution of higher learning, to explore and consider the tremendous scope that exists, for broadening and introducing the Lovely Professional University experience, to the western world. You have an in-demand, global product to sell, and it should be sold globally!
In the faith of strengthening ties, the Commonwealth of Dominica, would be delighted to partner with you in this endeavor.
I take this opportunity to invite those interested in travel or geo-thermal energy or water resources, to come to Dominica.
I invite the Lovely University to engage in a cultural exchange with the students of Dominica. I believe that the two strong cultures have - a shared sense of community, a common thirst for knowledge and a resourcefulness that creates leaders.
Graduates, you now live in a world that presents an expanding universe of travel, mobility, and freedom. You can look to the entire globe for inspiration, for encouragement, and for motivation.
I hope you will remember your friendships and cherish the moments you spent with the person seated next to you today. But I urge you to use this unique exposure to a diverse community, to explore the world, and to set your sights on global targets.
Reach out to the world, and do not let geographical boundaries stop you.
It is communities that build nations, it is the communities that grow leaders. It is what has made countries like Dominica and India successful – even in a world of internet and individualism, it is what binds us. We are only stronger, together.
I urge graduates today to set your sights on Global targets. The education and other professional grounding you received at Lovely Professional University, have given you immeasurable scope and opportunity to excel and reach the very top. Strive for leadership. Be pioneers! Be the Inventor! Be the owner! Be the Founder! Be at the apex of your professional endeavor.
For you, geographical boundaries should now be non-existent. As a graduate of this renowned institution of higher learning,you may go forward, knowing that you are prepared for life and its varied challenges.
Chancellor Ashok Mittal, I am delighted to be in attendance at this Convocation. I am humbled by the Honor you have bestowed on me. I share and present this salutation, as a symbol of motivation and encouragement to the hundreds of young Dominicans studying at home and across the Globe, in pursuit of knowledge, and in preparation for the challenges of a new, globalized world order.
To members of the Graduating Class I say believe in yourself. Believe in your country. Believe in The Creator!
May you be Blessed in your future endeavors...and may they redound to the Honor and benefit of the remarkable country of India and the wider world.
To God be the glory...Great things he hath done!
I thank you."
PM Skerrit's Convocation Address at Lovely Professional University- "Now is the Time for Resourcefulness and Resilience"