Ahmed’s Voice: The Graduation Speech

At the Graduation Ceremony in the grand rotunda of City Hall to honor the pilot cohort of the City of Minneapolis Urban Scholars program.
Commencement address given by Urban Scholar Ahmed Abdulle:

Good afternoon everyone. I would like to take some time to talk on behalf of the Urban Scholars. Before I talk about our achievements and experiences we’ve had this summer, I would like to thank the Mayor, and each of the department heads as well as the  supervisors who oversaw the interns. I would like to thank you all for allowing this summer to be one of great benefit. As you all know, this Urban Scholars Program is a very new one. It is a learning experience for all of us both the directors as well as the students. We hope to see this program grow each year and allow more college students to experience the professional settings of the Public Sector.

On a more personal level I am extremely grateful for this program. Before I started working for the City through the Neighborhood Community Relations department or NCR for short I had worked for my school as a work study. Although I enjoyed my work at Minneapolis Community and Technical College I have to admit I have learned so much more working for this great city in three short months than I have working in my previous position. I believe the rest of my fellow interns would agree that this internship has opened our eyes to the amazing workings of the city from behind the scenes. From organizing trainings to overseeing the City’s budget, we have seen this city inside out. Before I started working for NCR I didn’t even know the name of my neighborhood which I reside in, now, I want to be part of it. I want to do great things for my neighborhood and for the City as a whole.

Throughout the internship we have been told that we, the students, the youth, the next generation will inherit the city. One of us might even be Mayor one day. At first I thought that it would be impossible for me to be mayor of Minneapolis. How could I be? I heard that to be Mayor one has to have experience in working for the city. One also must have the right connections. And above all else one must be a leader. Then I realized there were over a hundred applicants for this internship and out of a hundred I managed to be one of the eight finalists who got the privilege to work for the City. It wasn’t luck, no; I had worked hard in the past…my standing here is a testimony to that. As for having the right connections, I have learned the importance of networking, and now am good friends with the some of the council members as well as the Mayor. Throughout the internship we have had opportunities to improve our leadership skills. My speech today is one of those opportunities. In short I do believe I have the potential to be mayor in the near future. We all do, thanks to the brilliant effort of Karen François and Velma Korbel. “En Avant,” French for Forward; this is the motto for Minneapolis. And this is what we are doing. We are paving the way to making this city greater. One such way is this program. This program should not be seen as just another civil service program but rather as an investment in this great city.

I would like to end this speech with one of the most helpful tips I have received while working for the city. In the first few weeks of my internship I would come into work wearing a nice shirt, and slacks. But I would also wear sneekers, and carry a bright blue backpack. Thankfully we had a mini seminar in which we learned how important it is to look professionally. Velma taught us that in the professional world one should not wear sneekers or carry a bright blue backpack. If we are to expect to become great leaders we had to act the part. Now I wear a suit, dress shoes, and carry a leather briefcase. And let me tell you, not only do I think I could be mayor, but I already feel like I am.

Thank you!

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