Stevens: Play your part in the world's great transition

By Adela Talbot
June 17, 2014

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CONVO_StevensPaul Mayne // Western News

A strong foundation of values, coupled with a solid frame of reference, will lead graduates to future success, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Glenn Stevens told graduates at the Tuesday, June 17 morning session of Western’s 303rd Convocation.

“Whether you’re here from abroad, from other parts of Canada or studying in your hometown, you stand at the threshold of a career during a remarkable time,” Stevens said, noting Asia will soon be responsible for a large economic shift worldwide.

“You will play part in that great transition. The decisions you make over the next 20-30 years will matter, not just for you, but will help to shape the world.”

Stevens spoke to graduates from the School of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies and the Ivey Business School at the Tuesday, June 17 morning session of Western’s 303rd Convocation. Western conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD), upon Stevens for his distinguished career in economics.

Stevens told graduates that regardless of the path they take and the career they pursue, they must focus their attention on the journey and the opportunities it brings, instead of the final destination.

Graduates are privileged and have a “responsibility to use talents and abilities to do something of significance, beyond something for oneself alone,” he said.

Whatever they do, they must do it with diligence, professionalism, integrity and a degree of sensitivity for the less fortunate, Stevens added.

“Your frame of reference and your set of values matter a great deal.”

Considered one of the most powerful people in Australia, Stevens has been Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia since 2006.

He graduated from Western and the University of Sydney and joined the Bank’s Research Department in 1980. Since then, he has held various senior positions, including heading the economic analysis and international departments.

From 1996-2001, Stevens was assistant governor (economic), responsible for overseeing economic and policy advice to the governor and board of the bank. He was appointed deputy governor, and member of the board of the bank in December 2001.

His appointment as governor was effective September 2006.

Stevens is chairman of the Reserve Bank Board and Payments System Board, and chairman of the Council of Financial Regulators. He is one of two Australian representatives on the Financial Stability Board, an international body to promote financial stability.

Stevens is also recognized for his charitable work, serving as chairman of the Financial Markets Foundation for Children, and a director of The Anika Foundation, launched in 2005 to raise funds for research of adolescent depression and suicide.

Stevens has been a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and a member of the advisory boards of the Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research, the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne and the Australian School of Business at the University of New South Wales.

In her citation, Economics professor Audra Bowlus praised Stevens for being the reason Australia weathered the 2008 financial crisis. He was one of only six banking leaders to receive an A grade from global finance judges, yet nothing has ever gone to his head, Bowlus said.

Stevens is a “down-to-earth family man” with passions for guitars and airplanes and this is the key to his success, she added.

The most important thing he did during the financial crisis, Stevens has said, was to “just keep calm and do the job” and this is what is needed in times of crisis, Bowlus explained.

Stevens closed by invoking leadership.

“Choose to be good leaders. Uphold the values; don’t compromise your integrity. Be the standard. Make a difference. Therein will lie achievements that build on ones we recognize here today.”


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