He Jiang, the first Chinese graduate to ever speak at Harvard’s commmencement ceremony, has become a star on Chinese social media.
头脑清晰| 有目标| 有决断
Realize your dreams!
◊ While studying at Harvard, I saw how scientific knowledge canhelp others in simple, yet profound ways. The bird flu pandemic in the 2000slooked to my village like a spell cast by demons. Our folk medicine didn’t evenhave half-measures to offer. What’s more, farmers didn’t know the differencebetween common cold and flu; they didn’t understand that the flu was much morelethal than the common cold. Most people were also unaware that the virus couldtransmit across different species.
◊ So when I realized thatsimple hygiene practices like separating different animal species could containthe spread of the disease, and that I could help make this knowledge availableto my village, that was my first “Aha” moment as a budding scientist. But itwas more than that: it was also a vital inflection point in my own ethicaldevelopment, my own self-understanding as a member of the global community.
◊ Harvard dares us to dream big, to aspire to change the world.Here on this Commencement Day, we are probably thinking of grand destinationsand big adventures that await us. As for me, I am also thinking of the farmersin my village. My experience here reminds me how important it is forresearchers to communicate our knowledge to those who need it. Because by usingthe science we already have, we could probably bring my village and thousandslike it into the world you and I take for granted every day. And that’s animpact every one of us can make!
◊ But the question is, will we make the effort or not?
◊ More than ever before, our society emphasizes science andinnovation. But an equally important emphasis should be on distributing theknowledge we have to where it’s needed. Changing the world doesn’t mean thateveryone has to find the next big thing. It can be as simple as becoming bettercommunicators, and finding more creative ways to pass on the knowledge we haveto people like my mom and the farmers in their local community. Our societyalso needs to recognize that the equal distribution of knowledge is a pivotalstep of human development, and work to bring this into reality.
◊ And if we do that, then perhaps a teenager in rural China who isbitten by a spider will not have to burn his hand, but will know to seek adoctor instead.