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The Silicon Review Asia

Fight disparity and fortify the global community: Says Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard

Fight disparity and fortify the global community: Says Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard

The man behind popular social networking giant ‘Facebook’ Mark Zuckerberg  recently made a visit to Harvard, where he launched Facebook and then dropped out, telling graduates it's up to them that how to get reason to the world, fight disparity and make stronger the global community.

"Change starts local. Even global changes start small - with people like us,'' the Facebook CEO said. He also shared stories about graduates such as David Razu Aznar and Agnes Igoye, who grew up in clash zones in Uganda and now trains law enforcement officers.

"And this is my story too,"Zuckerberg added."A student in a dorm room, connecting one community at a time, and keeping at it until one day we can connect the whole world.''

Such superior talk now comes logically to Zuckerberg, a 33-year-old billionaire who has made a firm commitment to give away nearly all of his wealth. In February, he drafted out a strong-minded, if indistinct, vision for Facebook that devoted the company to developing "social infrastructure'' that would help construct a "global community that works for all of us.''

But also it hits a sharp difference with the disapproval Facebook has taken lately - not so much for linking the world (a big chunk of it, anyway) as for worsening to foresee how susceptible that connectedness could be to those who mistreat it.

Zuckerberg, who like the graduates is a millennial, started Facebook in his dorm room in 2004. What began as a closed networking site for Harvard students is now a global communications force with nearly 2 billion members. Facebook's founding was the subject of a Hollywood movie, "The Social Network,'' in 2010.

Facebook's effect has been thoughtful. It has linked people who would have not at all met otherwise, allowing them to shape helpful networks online and offline. And it has permitted people to converse in developing countries even if they don't have a phone number or a smartphone.

In his beginning speech, in interviews and in his February manifesto, Zuckerberg was absolutely confident about all that. He's been saying he wants to make the world more open and linked for more than a decade now, and he doesn't cave in.

"I wondered if I was just wrong, an impostor, a 22 year-old kid who had no idea how the world worked,'' Zuckerberg said. "Now, years later, I understand that is how things work with no sense of higher purpose. It's up to us to create it so we can all keep moving forward together.''

Later on while delivering the speech Zuckerberg's voice sounds broken with emotion as he talked about a high school student he mentors who is living in the U.S. illegally. When Zuckerberg asked him what he wants for his birthday, the student started talking about others he wanted to help, and asked for a book on social justice.

"Here is a young guy who has every reason to be cynical,'' Zuckerberg said, his eyes welling with tears. "He wasn't sure if the country he calls home - the only one he's known - was going to deny him his dream of going to college. But he wasn't feeling sorry for himself. He wasn't even thinking of himself.'' If he can do this, Zuckerberg said, "then we owe it to the world to do our part too.''

Well that’s not all, Zuckerberg also signed the "Giving Pledge'' commitment to contribute the bulk of his money in 2010; five years later, that to 99 percent. Together with his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, he formed the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organization focused on advancing science and education. 

In addition to delivering the speech, Zuckerberg also was acknowledged with an honorary degree, 12 years after dropping out of Harvard, and was then introduced to graduates as "Dr. Mark Zuckerberg.''

If I get through this speech today it'll be the first time I actually finish something here at Harvard,'' Zuckerberg said. He did.


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