'The world will be stronger than before:' Bill and Melinda Gates gave a commencement speech to students graduating into a COVID-19 world

Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesBill and Melinda Gates.
  • Graduations across the world have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates, whose foundation has pledged $US250 million to fight the virus, penned a joint commencement speech for the class of 2020 in the Wall Street Journal.
  • They acknowledge that the class of 2020 has an extremely difficult time ahead of them, but offered some words of optimism.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Billionaire philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates on Friday published a commencement speech for the entire class of 2020, whose graduations have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Published in the Wall Street Journal, the couple address a class who are moving into adult life just as the globe faces “mass suffering and economic devastation.”

“So, what does all of this mean for the next chapter of your lives? As a member of our global community, your actions can have a global impact. Whatever your professional goals, wherever you live, whoever you are, there are ways, big and small, that you can participate in making the world better for everyone,” they write.

The couple acknowledge that for many graduates, making their mark on the world will be the last thing on their mind.

“With so many things to worry about – from your health to your family to what the job market means for your ability to pay off your loans – it is understandable that you may need to put on hold the bigger questions about your role in improving the world,” they write.

Still, they offered a glimpse of optimism, saying the world has recovered from devastating events before. “That progress didn’t happen by accident or fate. It was the result of people just like you who made a commitment that whatever else they did with their lives and careers, they would contribute to this shared mission of propelling us all forward.”

“Class of 2020, these are not easy times. But we will get through them. And with your leadership, the world will be stronger than before,” the speech concludes.

Bill and Melinda Gates have been very vocal on the subject of the pandemic, and their charitable foundation has donated $US250 million to fighting the virus so far.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.