New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern paid a glowing tribute to the late Benazir Bhutto in her speech at Harvard University’s commencement ceremony.
In her speech recently, New Zealand’s premier spoke about her connection to Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. ‘In June 1989, the Prime Minister of Pakistan stood on this spot and delivered the commencement address titled Democratic Nations Must Unite. She spoke about her journey, the importance of citizenry, representative government, human rights, and democracy,’ she stated.
She then spoke about her own personal experience of meeting Benazir in Geneva in 2007. Ardern said that they met at a conference that drew together progressive parties from around the world. ‘Seven months later, she was assassinated,’ she added.
‘Two things that history will not contest about Benazir Bhutto – she was the first Muslim female prime minister elected in an Islamic country when women in power was a rare thing,’ Jacinda said further.
Speaking about the second thing, Ardern said that Bhutto was the first prime minister to have given birth in office. ‘The second and only other leader to have given birth in office 30 years later, was me,’ she went on. She also revealed that her daughter, named Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford, shares a birthday with Benazir.
Ardern believes that the path she carved as a woman feels ‘relevant’ today as it was decades ago. ‘And so too is the message she shared in this place,’ she stated. She then quoted the words of Benazir from her speech in 1989. ‘We must realize that democracy can be fragile.’
Jacinda shared that she reads those words sitting in her office which is a world away from Pakistan. ‘And while the reasons that gave rise to her words then were vastly different, they still ring true,’ she concluded.
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