Commencement Address

Excerpts From Dr. Jehan Sadat's Commencement Address to the Wellesley College Class of 2001

Note: We are unable to publish Dr. Sadat's address in its entirety. Below are some excerpts from her remarks.
Do not become too sure that you have passed all the examinations that are required. That would be illusion because the most important evaluation awaits you…. This test will measure the quality of your character and the magnitude of your soul. But what you contribute you in this life and the validity of what you leave behind. You will not find the answers in your test books, the library, or even the Internet. Nor will your score be enhanced by the thickness of your stock portfolio or your social position. Money and power will not guarantee you success or ensure you peace…. In the tests life imposes the answers can be found in the contents of your heart and the expression of your soul.

The challenges of the 21st century are great. The plagues of disease, poverty, and illiteracy are not confined to one place or one people. Conditions of life will not be easy, and you will make mistakes…. We all make them. Learn from them. And when you become dismayed and discouraged, turn to the examples of men and women whose lives echo the eternal message of love and peace. Men and women like Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, and Anwar Sadat. Their accomplishments, their lives give proof that ordinary human beings with extraordinary courage and conviction can change the course of history.

I can honestly and sincerely tell you that I believe a just, durable, and comprehensive peace will come to the Middle East. It may not be this week, this month, or even next year, but it will come. Considering all that I've endured, how could I believe otherwise? In my heart, I believe as my husband believed, that peace will prevail when our hearts set the path for our heads and hands to follow.

The education of women is very, very dear to me. It is the key to success not just for women but also for their families and ultimately for nations…. For the sake of yourselves and the generations that follow, never stop learning. Never stop searching for cures for the ills of society. Never close your eyes to the suffering of others.

As you take your degrees and commence on your journeys, take this as your charge: Go forth with minds yearning to learn, hearts full of compassion and love, and hands willing to build bridges to peace.