Youth leader

Greek leader urges students to support and strengthen democracy

BOSTON (AP) — Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Boston College graduates during his commencement address Monday that it is their sacred duty to protect democracy at a time when it is under increasing pressure.

The future of democracy seemed unassailable when his generation graduated from college in the late 1980s, Mitsotakis said, around the time the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union crumbled.

But since then the world has seen a rise of populist and autocratic leaders who despise pillars of democracy such as free speech, a free press and free elections, he said during his speech. opening in front of approximately 4,450 graduates.

“My generation thought democracy was easy, overlooking the fact that it requires constant effort and systematic commitment,” said Mitsotakis, whose wife and son are both Boston College alumni.

Graduates are also heading into a wartime world in Europe that is causing untold misery and threatening a global recession, as well as in a time of climate change, humanity’s most complex problem, he said. declared.

But he expressed his optimism.

“I have such great faith in your generation not to repeat the mistakes of the past,” he said.

Everyone can take responsibility and do their part, he said.

“Your first responsibility is to radically reinvent democracy in the 21st century, first and foremost, by not neglecting your civic duties,” he said. “I’m not suggesting that you all become politicians. But for those of you who are considering public service, I wholeheartedly encourage you to pursue it. Because, think about it, if the best and the brightest don’t enter the public domain, then you leave room for others to do so.

In addition to Mitsotakis, the university awarded honorary degrees to Yolanda Lyle, vice president of executive operations at Pfizer Inc.; the Reverend Nicholas Sannella, former vascular surgeon and now parish priest; Patrick Stokes, former president and CEO of Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc.; and Arivee Vargas Rozier-Byrd, Senior Director of Employee Relations at Vertex Pharmaceuticals.