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Rizek Abusharr Tells Graduates ‘Peace Serves Needs Rather Than Fears Of The World’

May 15, 2004

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., May 15, 2004 -- At graduate student ceremonies at Springfield College’s 118th commencement today, Rizek Abusharr, retired director general of the Jerusalem International YMCA, said, "The task ahead" is the dedication of the energies, the resources and the imagination of all communities and nations to a new kind of war. This would be a declared total war, not upon any human enemy, but upon the brute forces of poverty and need.

"Peace, founded upon a decent trust and cooperative effort among the community of nations, can be fortified not by weapons of war, but by wheat and cotton, milk and wool, meat, timber and rice. These are words that translate into every language on earth. Peace serves the needs rather than the fears of the world," he said.

Speaking to an audience of about 3,000 graduates, college officials and guests at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony on the campus’ Administration Green, Abusharr also said, "The most desirable blessing in human life is fellowship, which builds community based on respect. When the ‘we’ takes the place of the ‘I’ and ‘our’ takes the place of ‘mine,’ sharing and caring become words of blessing."

Earlier in the event, Abusharr received an honorary doctor of humanics degrees recognizing his pioneering work through the Jerusalem International YMCA in the cause of peace. Springfield College has, historically, awarded honorary degrees to a few outstanding individuals who, by their character and accomplishments, personify the college’s guiding philosophy, humanics. The philosophy emphasizes the dedication of spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others.

A t its 118th commencement, Springfield College awarded 447 master’s and doctoral degrees, certificates of advanced study, and physician assistant certificates. In separate ceremonies for undergraduate students tomorrow on the campus, the college will award 630 bachelor’s degrees. Faculty, staff and students from Springfield College’s main campus and nine satellite campuses of its School of Human Services around the country are participating in commencement events. The college’s 2004 graduates come from 29 states and 10 countries.

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