May 24, 2019

Honorary Consul of El Salvador, Sonia Meijer Keynote Speaker at Graduation Ceremony

By Nane Paraiso.

On Friday 12th of October, Sonia Meijer was invited to speak at the graduation ceremony for International Baccalaureate students at Comenius College in Capelleaan den IJssel. Last year ex Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende was the key-note speaker, this year in the light of diversity, Comenius College decided to invite a charismatic and inspirational person from the Corps Diplomatic. It was a special evening since the students graduated with the highest marks in the Netherlands.

The evening started with a dinner for parents, graduates and teachers. Immediately after, the graduates had to wear their beautiful caps and gowns with a royal blue tassel. The valedictorian Evan Pridmore (a Canadian / American native) who currently studies art history in the UK brought us back to memory lane and with self-deprecating humour reminisced the joy and hardships of the International Baccalaureate programme. After some giggles and melancholic reflective thoughts the master of ceremony announced the Honoray Consul of El Salvador as key-note speaker.

Ms. Sonia Meijer began her speech by telling the freshly graduated students “how honoured” she was in taking part of the celebration. The auditorium was filled by emotions when she disclosed on her own life story and career path in the diplomatic world moving from El Salvador to Brasil, Uruguay and of course the Netherlands.

In addition Ms. Meijer commended the parents and teachers for their hard work in developing and raising adolescents into global citizens who aspire to travel the world whilst expanding their horizon. Moreover her motto and the message she conveyed that one needs “to dream big dreams” was extremely inspiring for the entire audience. Not only did she shed a light on the challenges one might face in life but also elaborated on the fact that traveling is quintessential to one’s life journey; “sometimes you’ll gain more knowledge through intercultural relationships than from plain knowledge in books.”

The poignant, heart-warming, motivational and benevolent speech ended on a positive note that when we embark on a new journey we’ll explore the world and view it from different perspectives. Perhaps some students would choose a career in the diplomatic world and if they aspire this, by working hard and with an open mind, these dreams could become reality.

After a musical intermezzo by other talented IB-students, teachers and tutors gave their speech. In general, Comenius College and especially the IB-programme fosters knowledgeable, inquisitive, balanced, risk-taking, caring and open minded people in order to create a better and more peaceful world.


The author is a IB Diploma Programme teacher and golf teacher.

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