The IU School of Global and International Studies celebrated its graduates for the first time in the new Global and International Studies building on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Around 200 filled the atrium of the building to honor the SGIS graduating class in a convocation ceremony.
In all, 134 received degrees from SGIS programs. A hundred students picked up bachelor’s degrees. There were 29 master’s students and 5 PhD graduates.
Founding Dean of SGIS Lee Feinstein congratulated the grads and their families, noting the remarkable events they’ve been part of in the first year of the new building. He noted their presence for Secretary of State John Kerry’s dedication of the school and building last fall, a special presentation by Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble in November, and the first-ever “America’s Role in the World” conference just a few weeks before graduation.
But he noted that he knows by spending time with the students that they leave SGIS with more than simply memorable experiences. “By developing the ability to write well, read analytically, and by studying the cultural and transnational forces that shape our world, you have developed not only language fluency but global fluency,” Feinstein said. “You embody our belief that to change the world, you must first seek to understand it. And we are proud of you.”
Zhaoya Colley, graduating with an M.A. in Arabic and Middle Eastern Affairs from the department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, delivered the graduate address. Colley is from China and spoke of how SGIS stretched her personally. Working in the media in China, she became interested in China’s relationship with the Middle East. That drove her to begin learning Arabic on her own. She said her study at SGIS has prepared her to delve deeply into that work.
“I was able to finish the highest level of Arabic offered at IU at the end of my first year of study,” Colley said. “This has provided me with a level of fluency that I would not have otherwise obtained. With the help of the faculty and other available resources I was able to write a thesis on the evolving role of Chinese entities in Iraq by using my language skills.”
The undergraduate address was delivered by Megan Kelly, who earned her BA in International Studies with certificates in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at SGIS, as well as non-profit management at SPEA. A Hutton Honors College student, Kelly grew up in Bloomington and stayed for her college career. She said she knows she and her students benefited by coming to SGIS.
“Luckily for us, we studied in a school with vast resources, diverse faculty, passionate students, and exciting opportunities,” Colley said. “Each of us found a movement to be a part of. That is the beauty of the SGIS experience. We come to a small, beautiful town in the Midwest, and study issues that are so much greater than we are. We find our passion here and learn how to change the world.”
You can view and download our complete album of photos from the SGIS Convocation ceremony on our Flickr page, https://www.flickr.com/people/iusgis/. Each photo has a download option on the bottom right side. Feel free to save and share.