John Zacharias: Hope and Kindness
Today I just want to talk a little bit about these two words. And the first word is hope. I never imagined that I would be talking about hope, this year, in particular. But I’ve heard the word “hope” a lot these last few days and it made me wonder. I actually went to look at some meanings of hope including in Chinese, (and) try to understand how we have used this word--- hope. You know, coming from a planning profession, well, one of the planning professions, what do we have? Well, we have a belief that things will be better. It's not that they could be better because you know lots of people can contain things can be better, but we will believe firmly that they will be better---that's actually our role, so I can understand why we might be hopeful under the circumstances.
Another thing I was thinking today my relation to hope is that when I graduate from my master’s degree--- urban planning at the University of British Columbia, well, the world was going to another kind of crisis which was the first oil crisis, so the world went into economic recession and job prospects looked mighty poor. In the planning fields, however, we were optimistic. We believed that this was the turning point that we were finally going to get on the road of sustainability. We believe that. And we were wrong or we were delayed in our thinking. So I like to think that we were delayed, we were delayed by a lot of things that happened in between. But there's no reason why we shouldn’t be hopeful today. I think we have an even greater opportunity today to get this right and we’d better get it right. So it's been a long time, it is now your graduation and you're in the midst of another kind of crisis here. But you have every reason to be hopeful about the future because in this hope there's also this meaning of will: will is part of hope .
The second word I had in mind, and it's been actually going through my mind a lot, is kindness. Now I think you know you can't be hopeful and not be kind. You have to think about to whom you want to do good things and for what reason, so kindness has to accompany hope, I think particularly in context that really begin now and you know I'm surrounded by people who have a lot less than they had a year ago. And that's true in China and it’s true around the world. There’s lot of people we need to be kind to. And think about privileges we have, and I wouldn’t presume any of your situations and what you face now. That's something I really don't know, but I do know that in Peking University we enjoy a lot of privileges. And I am very mindful of that privilege and it brings a kind of humility in the context of the crisis.
I wanted to just give those kinds of hopeful words because that's actually how I feel these days and I won't be longer than that. So those are my two words, hope and kindness.
（整理/黃可青 校對/劉鈿 編輯/朱亮亮）
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