Inspiring the next generation

Professor Harminder Dua was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the College's annual Diploma ceremony. Here is his moving acceptance speech:

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Author: David Parkins FCOptom
Date: 13 November 2015

Professor Harminder Dua was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the College at this year’s annual Diploma ceremony in recognition of his work in developing the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning in England as a joint initiative between the College and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. We also recognise his role in developing a mutually beneficial relationship between the two Colleges during his presidency of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. Here is his moving acceptance speech:


Mr President, Members of council, ladies and gentlemen,

In one’s professional career, only once in a while comes a moment like this, which makes one feel that it has all been worthwhile. Our teachers and gurus usually show appreciation in abundance. Our students and trainees are profuse in their praise, but to have yours peers to pause and acknowledge your achievements is a rare and humbling honour. I am truly grateful to the College of Optometrists, to the President David Parkins and his team for inviting me in your fold by conferring on me this honorary fellowship. My special thanks to Kamlesh Chauhan for his very kind and generous citation.

It is a special privilege to share this experience with so many of you who will soon rejoice in your success as you receive your diplomas and become members and fellows of this prestigious institution, the College of Optometrists. While you savour this moment and bask in the glory of your success, and rightly so, you must wake up tomorrow and acknowledge the responsibility that this brings. Every generation owes its success to the help and support offered by the previous generation. Every generation owes a debt of gratitude to the previous generation, to your parents and your teachers, which you can only pay back by doing for the next generation, your children and your students what your parents and teachers did for you. Nothing gives them more pleasure and satisfaction than seeing their charges, doing well in society and doing well for society. I have encapsulated this sentiment in two small verses that I wrote once for a similar occasion not long ago.


The finger that I held when I learnt to walk

That showed me the words to speak the talk

That turned the pages of knowledge to teach

And pointed to stars for me to reach Is part of the hand that waves me on

As I grasp the baton and move beyond Into the future, living his dream

Knowing how much to him it will mean.

Time will pass, I’ll stand on my feet I’ll extend my hand, the young ones to greet

For in their future I will secure

The future, for evermore.


Always think in terms of beginnings, not endings. Every ending provides an opportunity for a new beginning. Congratulations on one successful ending and my very best wishes for a new beginning.

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