Senator Manny Pacquiao was invited to join the ranks of several distinguished speakers in the past by Oxford Union president Stephen Horvath and society secretary Tom Brown.
Manny delivered an inspiring speech before the Oxford Union, the university’s prestigious debating society, and later spoke straight from the heart on stage at a jam-packed auditorium in the school campus.
The Union was established in 1823 and has welcomed a wide range of guest speakers including Sir Winston Churchill, Robert Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Mother Teresa, Benazir Bhutto, Albert Einstein, and Margaret Thatcher. From the sports world, George Foreman, David Haye, Vitali Klitschko, Chris Eubank, Boris Becker, Diego Maradona, and Roger Bannister were among the past visitors.
“I have fought some of the best fighters in history. And yet I have to admit, as I stand before you, I am intimidated when I think of the kind of main event headliners who faced you over the years: Sir Winston Churchill, American Presidents Reagan, Nixon and Carter, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, and Sir Elton John.
And here am I, Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, standing before you armed with just the equivalent of a sixth form education, an undisguised respect for what your group and your university represent and a pretty fair left hook.”
Due to being a high school dropout in his youth who only gained college education in the recent years, Manny found himself hesitant whether to accept the invitation or not, mainly because someone like him had the least idea on what to say in front of such students from one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
But Pacquiao did accept the invite and surprisingly, garnered praise from the students and netizens alike after he talked about the challenges he endured in the past, claiming that such ordeals provided him an education in the ‘Open University of Life’.
“I am a fighter and I will always be a fighter not just because this is my profession. All my life I have fought to live…I have fought for survival,” said Manny. “Miracles do happen. Dreams do come true…You, with your education, determination, and faith, you can change the world,” he added.
“I have not experienced how it is to pursue a degree like a regular university student. My circumstances were very different from yours. But I did not allow these circumstances to limit me… I continue to learn from the university called life.”
With his sincere and humble persona with not a single trace of pretense, Manny has left the English university in awe. Many even teared up while they listened to his speech.