Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. This week we:
Present graduation speeches by famous
speakers at several American colleges …
Answer a listener
question about "Star Trek" …
And play music
from Ziggy Marley's new reggae album.
Most colleges and universities have a special person
speak to their students during graduation ceremonies. Mario Ritter tells us about several
graduation speeches given last month by some very famous speakers.
MICHELLE OBAMA: "There are few things that are more
rewarding than to watch young people recognize that they have the power to make
their dreams come true. You did just that. Your perseverance and creativity
were on full display in your efforts to bring me here to Merced for this
was part of a speech First Lady Michelle Obama gave last month at a graduation
ceremony at the University of California, Merced.
ceremony honored the school's first full class of graduates since opening in
two thousand five. Missus Obama praised
the determination of the students, who sent thousands of letters to the White
House asking her to come speak at their graduation. Her speech gave a message
of hope to people living in areas affected by drought, high unemployment and
Obama was also busy with graduation events. He spoke at Arizona State
University in Tempe and the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
But it was his speech at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana that received
the most attention. For days, activists near the Catholic university protested
Mister Obama's appearance because of his policies supporting abortion. The
president recognized this dispute in his speech.
BARACK OBAMA: "The question, then -- the question then
is how do we work through these conflicts? Is it possible for us to join hands in common effort? As citizens of a vibrant and varied
democracy, how do we engage in vigorous debate?"
members of the Obama administration gave speeches as well. White House Chief of
Staff Rahm Emanuel spoke at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
of State Hillary Clinton spoke to graduates at New York University in New York
City. She introduced a new program for young people to work with American
embassies to create "digital diplomacy".
HILLARY CLINTON: "That's why today, I am please to
announce that over the next year, the State Department will be creating Virtual
Student Foreign Service Internships to harness the energy of a rising
generation of citizen diplomats."
The environmentalist Paul Hawken had a
very direct message for graduates at the University of Portland in Oregon. He
told students it was time for them to learn what it means to be a human being
on Earth at a time when every living system was failing. He said the Earth is
hiring and it was up to them to join together and do what is needed to help
save the planet.
CAPTAIN KIRK: "Space. The Final Frontier. These are the
voyages of the Starship Enterprise, its five year mission to explore strange
Our listener question this week comes from China. Min
Yu wants to know why "Star Trek" is so popular in America.
is a timely question. The newest film version of "Star Trek" was released last
month. It is based on the television series that began in the nineteen sixties.
"Star Trek" tells about a huge Federation starship operated by a multicultural
crew that explores the galaxy.
newest "Star Trek" movie is about the characters in the first television series
and how they met. It shows James T.
Kirk, Spock and Leonard "Bones" McCoy as young men training to become officers.
The movie has been a big success. And it has introduced "Star Trek" to a new
generation of fans.
who love all things "Star Trek" are often called Trekkies or Trekkers. Serious
Trekkers join fan clubs, read "Star Trek" magazines and attend events like
"Star Trek" conventions.
We asked two Trekkers why they love the series. Clara
Park of New York City says she first fell in love with "Star Trek" in the late
nineteen eighties by watching the "Next Generation" television series. She says
she liked its perfect world with no disease, no discrimination and a very
orderly government. In college she went to a "Star Trek" convention to meet the
actor Patrick Stewart who played the role of Jean-Luc Picard. Miz Park says it was very exciting to meet
him and see fans dressed up as characters on the show.
Watson of Los Angeles, California, says watching "Star Trek" on television is
one of his earliest memories. He praises the show for its writing which
skillfully sets off the chemistry among the three main characters. They were
played by William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelly. Mister Watson
says the universe shown in the series sparks the imagination by creating a
sense of wonder. He says many shows he watched as a child were filled with
action. But few were as filled with adventure, mystery and excitement as "Star
Geraghty is a film studies professor at the University of Portsmouth in
Britain. He has written books and articles on "Star Trek." He studies the ways
Trekkers have formed communities of support to tell stories about how the
series helped them overcome difficult situations. Professor Geraghty says that "Star
Trek's" message of hope, community, and self-improvement are central to
American culture, history and identity.
Ziggy Marley is a musician with a special link to
family. His father was the reggae star Bob Marley. Ziggy Marley grew up making
music with his brothers and sisters in their band, the Melody Makers. Ziggy
recently released his third album, "Family Time." His five children helped
influence his ideas for the record. He says music can be an important link between
a parent and child. Barbara Klein has more.
That was the title song, "Family Time," from Ziggy
Marley's latest album. Like many songs on the record, this one has a special
guest performer. Marley's daughter Judah was three years old when she made the
recording with her father.
He says he invited his daughter and fifty of her
friends to the studio on the first day of recording. He wanted them to bless
the studio with their young spirit.
Here is the song "Cry, Cry, Cry" which Ziggy Marley
performs with the singers Jack Johnson and Paula Fuga.
Marley says these children's songs are aimed at teaching younger generations
about reggae music. He says this music helps children grow with open minds and
open hearts. Part of the money from
album sales will help a school in Port Antonio, Jamaica.
leave you with "Walk Tall" sung by Ziggy Marley and Paul Simon.
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
It was written and produced by Dana Demange. For transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our
programs, go to voaspecialenglish.com.
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