President Waterbury, ministers and trustees, fellow honorees, and ladies and gentlemen I am delighted to take part in the revival of a tradition here at the American University of Beirut, and I value this association with such an outstanding institution.
As you know, Beirut is the city where I spent much of my youth, and Lebanon is the country that I especially cherish, my family's roots being anchored here. It is not without emotion that I return to a place that evokes so many warm memories for me, particularly to receive this special recognition.
I do appreciate the opportunity to be in academic settings such as this one because I have always placed a premium on the value of education. In its broadest meaning, education is a kind of continuing dialogue, and a dialogue assumes different points of view. During the course of my life, I feel fortunate to have been exposed to many different points of view. I have been enriched by a diversity of opinions and cultural perspectives whether Lebanese, French, Brazilian, American, Japanese, or Chinese. In all those exchanges, my experience has been shaped by people who taught me, who worked with me, who challenged me, who trusted me. All of those exchanges have contributed so far to my continuous education, and the dialogue continues to this day.
The more I learn, the more I am convinced that education is a lifelong endeavor. Universities have an important responsibility to teach, to test ideas, and to stir curiosity, but life, in fact, is its own university. We are all students who have to continually stretch to fulfill our potential, who must use our knowledge and abilities to create meaningful value around us, whatever course we choose to pursue.
This is the ideal we have adopted at Nissan, where we are working to deliver standard-setting levels of performance in the global automotive industry. Nissan is a Japanese company with a strategic alliance with Renault, which is French, and with sales and operations that span the globe. Every working day is a cross-cultural experience. People with different beliefs, who speak different languages, and who have identities shaped by their diverse business and cultural experiences, come together, linked by a common vision and a common destination to produce products and services that are enriching people's lives. Our differences are many, and communication can be a challenge at times. But we share a commitment to deliver our full potential. And that's a worthwhile pursuit for us all.
President Waterbury, I am moved an honored by this recognition, which I gratefully accept and humbly share with all who have contributed to any achievement I have been able to produce and who have made me a better person than I would have ever imagined to be. Thank you for the great compliment of this award.