Editor’s note: The following speech was presented by John Katzenbach during the 172nd Commencement Exercises at the Williston Northampton School on May 26, 2013.
I was delighted to be asked to stand in for the Ambassador from Colombia at this graduation. After all – what is a graduation speech? Mostly it is an opportunity for older folks to exhort younger people with all sorts of incredibly heartfelt and probably utterly useless advice. But – that said – You are – for better or worse – the classic captive audience. That is, it is my sincere belief that until Bob Hill actually hands you that diploma it is unlikely you will flee from this ceremony, regardless of what I say.
So, my first thought in putting this talk together was – obviously: What would the ambassador from Colombia tell you?
This was easy: One: Learn Spanish – a very useful language.
And two: Be diplomatic.