Today, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Pres­i­dent Joseph Aoun addressed the grad­u­ating class ofAmer­ican Col­le­geof Thes­sa­loniki, Greece, the first of three over­seas com­mence­ment addresses he will deliver in coming weeks. He will also address grad­u­ates in Turkey and Lebanon.

Aoun began by telling the grad­u­ating class he was hum­bled to be with them on this spe­cial occa­sion in a city­with acom­mit­ment to edu­ca­tion that­dates back to Aristotle.

When people come to Greece, they under­stand­ably focus on its glo­rious past,” noted Aoun, citing the birth­place of democ­racy, phi­los­ophy, the Olympic Games, and key prin­ci­ples of math and sci­ence. “We are also mindful that his­tory is not made by mon­u­ments or uni­ver­si­ties, but by tal­ented and visionary people.”

Speaking at a col­lege that will host 67 North­eastern stu­dents this fall as part of an ongoing exchange pro­gram, Aoun shared his global per­spec­tive, noting that this “inter­na­tional, inter­con­nected and inter­de­pen­dent world” is where the grad­u­ating stu­dents will live and where their gen­er­a­tion will make con­tri­bu­tions and solve problems.

Aoun urged the grad­u­ates to embrace change, take risks, follow their pas­sions, and engage with their communities—four guiding prin­ci­pals that he said helped anchor him on his own journey. An engaged life leads to achieve­ment, added Aoun. “I can assure you that your per­sonal ful­fill­ment will be com­plete if you can commit your pas­sion to some­thing larger than yourself—if you can find the har­mony that comes from knowing that our indi­vidual des­tinies are linked to the des­tinies of those around us.”

Aoun will speak to grad­u­ates of Bahce­sehir Uni­ver­sity in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 28. Bahcesehir’s many part­ner­ships with col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties around the world include a joint master’s degree pro­gram with North­eastern. On July 11, Aoun will address the grad­u­ating class of Holy Spirit Uni­ver­sity of Kaslik (USEK) in Beirut, Lebanon.