Address by Jacob "Jack" Austin on receiving the title and degree of doctor of laws, (honoris causa)
May 26, 2011

Madame chancellor, president and vice chancellor, honoured platform members, graduating students, and guests,

My first words are of thanks and appreciation to the university for this recognition and honour. It is special to me, coming as it does from the university of my home province where I spent, as all fellow students here, so many tense, stressful, but also challenging and rewarding years.

The year 2011, in which we are graduates of a world class university, will be marked by historians as an inflection point in world history. They will see it as pivotal in global development.

We, living in this year, struggle to grasp the meaning of what is happening around us.

Enormous change, revolutionary change, is underway, and is reshaping the realities of society.

Cast your attention to the information technology revolution, as important to societal change as the industrial revolution of the 18th century.

Take note of the bio-medical revolution including genetic breakthroughs, bio-technology and nanotechnology.

Mark the worldwide spread of cyber technology, computer and cellphone use and misuse..

What are the consequences of the rise of the developing world and its demand for resources and energy ? What is happening in the natural environment and in global climate change ?

What are the consequences of competition in global trade and currency ?

How do we deal with the challenges of global population growth, the threat of mass migrations of people; and the management of cultural and religious conflict and change in many parts of the world system so that we move effectively towards global peace and security ?

These and many more trends are generating new challenges to analysis, to problem solving and global cooperation.

Our task ahead is to secure orderly and equitable change in the enhancement of human welfare. This must be based on values made universal and applicable to the governance of a more complex world system.

This is the world all of us are facing. This university has given each of us the tools to make our way forward. Tuum est!