Prof. Alexis Papathanassis - Rector Hochschule Bremerhaven

Good morning, and welcome.

The sea connects us, and does not divide us. It’s a great honour for me to be here – thank you very much. You been listening to a lot today, and I was wondering what can I tell the young people - so please allow me to start with an analogy. You are embarking on a long educational journey. You all come with your own histories, your own feelings, your own hopes, with your own dreams. This is your luggage. You need it; you can use it. But don’t let your luggage ruin your trip. Don’t let your history, your past, determine what you can become. So look forward to what you can become, and don’t get stuck to what you were and who you are. This is why you are here.

The second aspect is when you are travelling and sailing at sea. Everything is possible. Everything is free, you can do whatever you like. It’s easy to get distracted. And if you lose sight of the horizon, you might get lost. So always remember, while you’re enjoying your time as students, why you came here, and what you want to achieve.

A third piece of advice that I might want to give you, could be with the weather and the wind. Don’t curse the wind, don’t blame the weather. Sometimes we have good weather, sometimes we have bad weather. Sometimes we have favourable wind, sometimes we have unfavourable wind. It’s all about how you set your sails. So take responsibility, because at the end of the day, if you take responsibility, also for things that go wrong, the effect will be you will never lose, you will always win, or you will learn which is again a win.

A fourth point maybe could be the crew. No man or woman is an island, and no ship is an island. You need others around you, and there are a lot of people, I see a lot of people behind me all standing here who are here to help you, to support you in your journey. Remember that, and remember that team spirit starts with an attitude. It’s about respecting and caring for one another. And my last point, I promised to keep it short today, is that always look for new shores. Go the extra mile, don’t only do what’s necessary. Try new things, explore new possibilities. And if you end up coming to the other shore in Bremerhaven, where we are coming from, you can always be sure that you will find a home port, and a welcoming port for you.

All my success, all my wishes. I hope that you enjoy this journey, that you make the best out of it, and all the best! Thank you very much.