Ronald Noble delivers University of New Hampshire commencement address

Ronald NobleProfessor of Law on Leave Ronald Noble, secretary general of INTERPOL, the world’s largest international police organization, delivered the commencement address at his alma mater, the University of New Hampshire, on May 19. 

In his speech, Noble paid tribute to his father, revealing that, late one night, the elder Noble had slipped his son’s resume under the front door of the home of Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The younger Noble became Higginbotham’s senior clerk.

“Two years later,” said Noble, “Judge Higginbotham told me that the reason he selected me was because of my father’s act of love that night. My father’s belief in and devotion towards me showed Judge Higginbotham that I had to have qualities in me somewhere worth nurturing—which the judge did.” Noble went on to become an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia and, eventually, undersecretary for enforcement of the U.S. Department of the Treasury before teaching at NYU Law. He became the youngest secretary general of INTERPOL, and the only American one, in 2000. Since 2007, he has taught in the NYU Law-National University of Singapore program in Singapore.

Noble urged the students to live postgraduate life to the fullest: “See what’s out there for yourselves. Dive into it. Feel it on your skin. Touch it. Inhale it. Lose yourself in it. It will change you forever.

“During my time as secretary general, I have seen natural beauty you can’t even imagine; listened to exquisite music on instruments that I’d never even heard of; seen art from both young and old, male and female; experienced a thousand years of wisdom by human beings in healing one another; tasted cuisine that would make your mouths explode with pleasure.

“I have been exposed to the cultural heritage of so many nations; witnessed Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindi, Buddhists living, working, and worshipping side-by-side; been invited to a Seder in Israel and Ramadan fast breaking in Pakistan, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates; and I’ve even meditated and practiced yoga in India’s Himalayan mountains.

“I’ve travelled to Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Maldives when INTERPOL assisted these countries in identifying the thousands of victims of the 2004 tsunami, and I’ve helped INTERPOL organize global manhunts for two of the world’s most notorious pedophiles, arrested in Thailand and the U.S. respectively.

“I’ve met and been blessed by popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests. Shook hands with Mother Teresa; watched Nelson Mandela speak in support of INTERPOL; spoke German with then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in a one-on-one meeting; met every U.S. president since Jimmy Carter except one; and have given a presentation to more than 50 heads of state and government from around the world....

“I want you to make the world your canvas. Make your decisions and beliefs the strokes that will paint a unique picture. That of a life that must be yours only, and never someone else’s... a life lived to the fullest.”

Posted on May 29, 2012