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Rice Speaks At Stanford Graduation

June 16, 2002

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STANFORD, Calif. (AP) _ National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice returned home to Stanford University on Sunday, urging graduates to use their education to promote freedom and tolerance of cultural differences.

Rice told the 4,600 graduates that a different world awaits them now than when she first spoke to them as the school’s provost their freshman year.

She said they had a responsibility to use their education to break down the hatred that erupted on Sept. 11.

``In the months past, we have been reminded in dramatic and terrifying ways of what happens when difference becomes a license to kill,″ she said. ``Terrorism is meant to dehumanize and divide.″

Many in the crowd of about 25,000 applauded Rice as she spoke about a personal story _ losing a childhood friend in the 1963 Birmingham, Ala., church bombing.

``Though I didn’t see it, I heard it a few blocks away. It is a sound that I can still hear today,″ she said. ``I realize now that it is an experience that I have overcome, but will never forget. And so it will be for all of us _ you and me _ who experienced Sept. 11.″

About two dozen graduates disagreed with the choice of Rice as commencement speaker. They stood during her speech, holding their black mortarboards attached with fliers that criticized U.S. policies, including the United States’ refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol, among others.

In the stands, several people stood holding a large sign that read: ``Stop Isolating U.S. _ Respect Int’l Law.″

Rice is a political science teacher on leave from the university and was the school’s provost from 1993 to 1999.

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