World renowned economist and scholar Professor Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram was conferred the Honorary Doctorate in Economics and Social Development by INTI International University for his contributions in the respective fields. He was awarded the doctorate by former prime minister of Malaysia, YABhg Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, during the university’s convocation ceremony on 25 February 2023 which also witnessed the graduation of 359 students across INTI’s PhD, Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Diploma programmes.
In his acceptance speech, Prof. Dr. Jomo thanked INTI for the honour and shared that the nation must unite for peace and economic recovery. He added that the university also plays a role in supporting this mission.
“INTI International University must continue to live up to its name, emphasizing the core universal values sustaining the advance of human civilization preparing us for challenges. Let me thank all for your attention to this patriotic plea for peace to save the nation and planet,” he said.
Members of the audience rise as former Malaysian prime minister YABhg Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad walks into the Tan Yew Sing Multipurpose Hall at INTI International University’s February 2023 convocation ceremony. He is escorted by Dr. Joseph Lee, Vice Chancellor of INTI International University, Prof Emeritus Dato’ IR Dr. Mohamad Zawawi, member of INTI International University’s Board of Governors, and prominent economist Professor Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram.
The Yale and Harvard graduate started his career in education in 1974, during which he taught at universities in Malaysia such as Universiti Sains Malaysian and Universiti Malaya, as well as abroad. Prof. Dr. Jomo has served as senior advisor at Khazanah Research Institute from 2019 to 2020 and was senior fellow at Khazanah Research Institute from 2016 to 2018. From 2016 to 2017, he held the Tun Hussein Onn Chair in International Studies at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia.
Prof. Dr. Jomo has also taken on various roles in the United Nations including Assistant Director General and Coordinator for Economic and Social Development, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations from August 2012 until December 2015. From 2010 to 2012, Prof. Dr. Jomo was the G20 sherpa to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN G20 Finance Deputy from 2011 to 2012.
(From left) Prof Emeritus Dato’ IR Dr. Mohamad Zawawi, Dr. Joseph Lee, YABhg Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, and Prof. Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram on stage during the conferment of the Honorary Doctorate in Economics and Social Development.
His illustrious career also includes serving as advisor to Father Miguel d’Escoto, the President of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly, and as a member of the [Stiglitz] Commission of Experts of the President of the United Nations General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System. In 2018, Prof. Dr. Jomo was appointed one of the five-member Council of Eminent Persons to advise the new Federal Government and members of the Economic Action Council (EAC).
Meanwhile, Tun Dr. Mahathir, in his speech, reminded graduates at the convocation ceremony that there is no short cut to surviving in today’s competition and being relevant.
“It has always been said that when you step out of campus you are finally walking into the real world. Though I find the phrase not wholly accurate, as the struggles in campus life can be as challenging if not more than in the outside world, it has to be taken in the context that the competition out there is more ferocious and sometimes ruthless,” he said, adding that good values such as discipline, hard work, commitment, honesty and integrity will take them far.
YABhg Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said it was important for present and future generations to continue to be selfless towards developing the nation, and that being able to do so is also a measure of one’s success, both collectively and individually.
According to Tun Dr. Mahathir, there are limitless opportunities available, and it is up to them how they want to grab it.
“The next stage after you have attained success, is the time to ask yourself what you can do for the nation. As clichéd as it may sound, Kennedy’s quote ‘Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country’ is of the essence.
“I am aware as people become more and more individualistic, nationalism and patriotism are sometimes viewed as being overrated. But let me assure you that much of what you have achieved today, directly, or otherwise, would not have been possible if not for the patriotism made by your predecessors in the past,” he said.
He emphasized how important it was for present and future generations to continue to be selfless towards developing the nation, and that being able to do so is also a measure of one’s success, both collectively and individually.
Before concluding his speech, Tun Dr. Mahathir congratulated the graduates on fulfilling an important aspect of their lives.
“Congratulations are also due to the university and academicians for making sure you achieved your dreams. It is the dawn of a new chapter for you graduates with the world waiting to embrace you,” he ended.