Utterances

REMARKS OF RAISA GORBACHEV AT WELLESLEY COLLEGE COMMENCEMENT

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to be with you at this momentous and exciting day when you are leaving your college and entering a new life. I congratulate you on this important occasion. I am grateful to Mrs. Barbara Bush and to the college administration for this chance of coming to Wellesley during our stay in America. I thank college officials professors, and all of you for your kinds words and warm feelings.

I distinctly remember a similar summer day in Moscow. The years of my studies at Moscow University were over. We were then full of plans and hopes just like you are today. Being young is a marvelous time, a time of actions and expectations, of being confident of one’s abilities and sure that everything is still ahead. I wish that all your dreams of the future come true.

The President of the Soviet Union asked me to convey to you his warm regards. He also wishes you happy roads in your life. We know that people in America show great interest in what is happening in the Soviet Union, the land of perestroika. This word nowadays sounds the same in all the languages of the world. ‘We associate with perestroika the future of our country, whose millions of people speak over 120 languages. Perestroika was conceived and is being implemented for the sake of the people, their dignity, and quality. Its goal is to make humane ideals and values a reality. This vast and difficult task is a top challenge, but we are confident that perestroika will succeed. The guarantee of that is the patriotism and talent of our people, their tenacity, their strength, and their desire to overcome obstacles on the way, on the road they chose.

In renewing our country we want to make it open to the world. The Soviet people know the value of peaceful life. We wish to have good relations with the Americans and other peoples. Of course, all of us, daughters and sons of our own countries and peoples are different. The Soviet Union and the United States have different histories, traditions, and cultures. That, however, is not the reason for mutual estrangement and suspicion. People on both sides of the great ocean realize more and more clearly there are values that bring us closer. Such values are love for one’s own native country, love for one’s relatives, children, the belief in what is good, belief in solidarity to combat wars, violence, hunger, catastrophes, and other threats to mankind. These values are now more important than anything else. Hamlet’s question, “To be or not to be,” today confronts not only individuals or nations, but the entire humanity. So what will our society be like? Not only the leaders of states, but the world community as a whole, share this responsibility.

We women have our special mission. Always, even in the most cruel and troubled times, women have had the mission of peacemaking, humanism. mercy, and kindness. And if people in the world today are more confident of a peaceful future, we have to give a great deal of credit for that to women, who are active in advocating friendship, cooperation, and mutual understanding among nations.

You are entering a complex and multifaceted world. Your generation will soon assume The responsibility for everything that takes place on our planet. May good luck and happiness be with you. I wish you many good accomplishments.