Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy surprised the Johns Hopkins University’s Class of 2023 in Baltimore on Wednesday by delivering the honorary commencement speech from Kyiv, nearly 5,000 miles away.

As Zelenskyy appeared on screen for the first time, the crowd of about 10,000, per The Washington Post, definitely looked surprised as they stood up and applauded to welcome him.

University staff first reached out to the president in March but it was a close-kept secret among a select few, Jill Rosen, who is the director of media relations at the university, told The Baltimore Banner. She said that another speaker was standing by since “no one was certain that it would happen, even up until the last minute.”

He told graduates that he would keep his remarks brief in honor of his topic of choice — making the most out of the time that we have.

“Every person eventually realizes that time is the most valuable resource on the planet, not oil or uranium, not lithium or anything else, but time.” — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

“Every person eventually realizes that time is the most valuable resource on the planet,” Zelenskyy said, “not oil or uranium, not lithium or anything else, but time.”

He was recently on the frontlines of the war with Russia to “award the best fighters.” There are people of all ages and backgrounds like the graduates, but who have traded any title they have for “warrior” at this time, he said.

“They and you have similar hopes for life, similar expectations from life,” he said. “But there is a fundamental difference that comes down to the question of time. The time of your life is under your control.”

He encouraged graduates to think big and become doctors, lawyers, engineers and innovators of technology and new businesses, among an even bigger goal.

“I’m certain a few among you will heed the call to serve and become members of Congress, cabinet secretaries, and yes, yes, maybe president one day,” he said.

He concluded by speaking about how proud he was of his country and their fight because Ukraine “is not losing a single day in its defense” by doing everything possible every day to “become stronger, to give more protection to people” and “save more lives.” He thanked the United States for being part of that fight.

“All of our tomorrows, and the tomorrows of our children and grandchildren, depend on each of our todays.”

“And I’m certain you, as your forefathers, will continue to lead the free world,” he ended. “This century will be our century, a century where freedom, innovation, and democratic values reign. A century where tyrannies that repress their own and seek to enslave their neighbors will vanish from us once and for all. But all of our tomorrows, and the tomorrows of our children and grandchildren, depend on each of our todays.”

He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Watch the full speech here

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