Dr. Gregorian, Mr. Mayor, Members of the Selection Committee, Ladies & Gentlemen:
I am truly grateful for the great honor you have conferred on me with this award.
I have often wondered if we could aggregate on a balance sheet all that we have accomplished or lost throughout mankind’s long journey to where we are today, what would be the truest and most fair view? Would the assets of our cumulative achievements exceed our many failings? Reflecting back on the past, it is clear that the histories of both nations and individuals are marked with roads not taken, duties not fulfilled and opportunities for growth, affluence and prosperity needlessly, often tragically squandered. Sometimes, it does indeed seem that all our progress in abundances pales in comparison to a growing sense of bitter disenchantment.
I am certain many of us here today believe that in a world increasingly filled with complexity of all kinds, progress is not linear. To borrow the words of Dr. Martin Luther King on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol, the “long arc of the moral universe” is a work in progress. It needs our conscious collective effort to bend it toward justice and compassion. Those of us who have the good fortune of success must remain committed and determined to build a life of success that can make a difference for others.
In our Chinese language, destiny is the confluence of fate and luck – where one’s own choice has material influence over outcome. I believe our dedication and effort can bring about effective and efficient changes to the world around us. As many of you know, I have often referred to my own commitment to making a difference as being like having a “third son”, in addition to the two sons I have been blessed with in this life.
Ladies and Gentlemen, my third son and I are honored to be counted among your company today.