Hamilton Lugar School Class of 2021: Way to go! Congratulations!
As your dean, I declare you—diploma almost in hand—officially “Globally Ready.”
I am thrilled that we will be together this year for the traditional IU commencement at Memorial Stadium.
And, even though we can’t hold our usual HLS event for our graduates, your name is already up in lights, together with those of all 200 of this year’s graduates, in our beautiful atrium. Be sure to stop by with your family and friends. Look for me there to offer a socially-distanced high five.
Let’s face it. The last 14 months have been tough. But you have been tougher. Your professors and I couldn’t be prouder of you.
Let’s also thank the family and friends who helped you to this point. To all those who have supported our students, on behalf of the Hamilton Lugar School, we thank you for trusting us with their education.
HLS’ers, you have found the silver lining in this challenging time. Covid-19 deeply impacts every person on the planet. It has validated your decision four years ago to focus your studies on the societies, cultures, languages, and politics that shape the world.
You have been inspired by our school’s namesakes, Senator Richard Lugar and Congressman Lee Hamilton, gentle giants of American foreign policy, who put pragmatism and principle above party.
You have excelled academically, and built a network of social organizations in our school and on campus.
You founded Enough is Enough, which organized a march of 7,000 people to bring awareness to police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
You started the Eleanor Roosevelt Society, which works to uplift the voices of HLS students and faculty on the fundamental importance of diversity and inclusion in international politics and academia.
You founded Food (Security) for Thought, to supply globally-inspired food boxes to IU students and a symposium on food security and global cuisine.
And you include the first student to graduate with our new degree in Cybersecurity and Global Policy with the IU Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering.
In the classroom, you have mastered new alphabets, verbs of motion and devious declensions.
You have studied Daoist scriptures. And the Meiji Revolution.
You have measured the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights against the structural inequalities in our own country and across the world. You’ve parsed the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
Your trailblazing ways are already leading to great outcomes.
You are pursuing studies at Columbia University in Russian Studies, Divinity School at Harvard, Law at the Maurer School here at IU, non-proliferation studies at the Middlebury Institute in Monterrey, health care at Oxford University, Linguistics at Ewha University of the Academy of Korean Studies in Korea, and Cognitive and Information Sciences at the University of California, Merced.
You are working in the private sector as global consultants, and doing NGO work in monitoring the arms trade.
Many of you have decided to take a year off, to travel, or give back to your country, in programs like Teach for America.
Maybe most impressive are those of you who next year will focus on your families, who have sacrificed so much for your future, and who have experienced loss over the last 14 months.
We honor all your choices.
Over the last two years, we have all been challenged to navigate a path in response to something we have not experienced before.
It has not been easy, away from our friends and study routines and at a social distance. Overseas study and internships were suspended or cancelled for many if not most of you.
I agree with Congressman Hamilton about how to think about the challenges handed to us by the pandemic. It presents us with an opportunity and a test of our initiative and our ingenuity.
Your four years in HLS have prepared you for this test.
Your global education builds confidence in your abilities, and also teaches humility and the importance of social solidarity.
You are prepared for a world where challenges cross borders.
Where seeking shared understanding and celebrating differences are preconditions for progress.
You are ready for these challenges: Globally Ready.
I wish you health in mind, body, and spirit. Stay in touch.
I know you will continue to make us proud.