Friday May 27, 2022
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed students at the Harvard University Commencement on Thursday, where she reiterated former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto's call to deepen democracy.
The New Zealand Prime Minister emphasised the importance of democratic systems, echoing Bhutto's 1989 speech at the university, in which she emphasised the "fragility of democracy."
In her speech, Arden shared that she had met Bhutto in Geneva in 2007, seven months prior to her assassination.
The PM said that despite all the political differences that exist in the world, two things about Bhutto were undeniable.
"She was the first Muslim female Prime Minister elected in an Islamic country, when a woman in power was a rare thing," she said mentioning the first thing.
"She was also the first to give birth in the office," continued Arden.
She mentioned how 30 years later she was "the second and the only other leader to have given birth in office almost 30 years later."
"My daughter, Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford, was born on the 21st of June 2018, Benazir Bhutto’s birthday," she told the audience.
She underscored how she had walked a path similar to the former Pakistani PM.
"The path she carved as a woman feels as relevant today as it was decades ago, and so too is the message she shared here in this place," she said.
Echoing Bhutto, she said, "This imperfect but precious way that we organise ourselves, that has been created to give equal voice to the weak and to the strong, that is designed to help drive consensus, it is fragile."
She ended her speech by giving the message of kindness.
"After all, there are some things in life that make the world feel small and connected; let kindness be one of them," she said.
Taking to Twitter, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari shared Ardern's speech and said that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto "continues to inspire & guide us from her grave."