Elliott School graduates encouraged to ‘think globally’

Media Credit: Ethan Stoler | Contributing Photo Editor

President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband addresses graduates of the Elliott School of International Affairs during the school's commencement celebration Friday.

Speakers at the Elliott School of International Affairs commencement celebration Friday reminded graduates to “think globally” and make the world a closer place.

The ceremony was held in the Smith Center and celebrated the graduation of more than 1,000 students.

Here are some takeaways from the celebration:

1. A bright future

Reuben Brigety, the dean of the Elliott School, told the audience that the Elliott School is “exceptional” not only because of students’ dedication to world issues, but also because of their dedication to one another.

He said that even though the world faces several difficult challenges today, Elliott School students are contributing to a brighter future because of their work with nonprofit organizations, travel to developing countries and research on topics like cultural diplomacy.

“Members of this year’s graduating class gathered here today are not only prepared to tackle the world’s toughest problems, they are eager to take on that challenge,” Brigety said.

Ethan Stoler | Contributing Photo Editor

Graduates of the Elliott School of International Affairs wait to be called to walk and receive their diploma Friday.

2. ‘Think globally’

David Miliband, the president of the International Rescue Committee and the celebration’s keynote speaker, reminded graduates about the importance of understanding the world around them. He urged them to “think globally, not just locally” because “you can only understand your own country if you recognize the world around you.”

Miliband also told the graduates how much the world needs their insights, internationalism and optimism.

“The mission of this school, you all know, is to build the leaders of tomorrow,” he said. “Let me say this with confidence and conviction: We need you to be better than the leaders of today.”

3. Bringing the world closer

Student speaker Julia Goldman kicked off her speech with an anecdote about how the world felt “far off and unattainable” while growing up in Salt Lake City.

But she said her time at the Elliott School – where she learned about different cultures and global politics – made her feel that the world was at her fingertips.

Goldman congratulated her peers and thanked them for thought-provoking late-night conversations and debates. She reminded her fellow graduates to recognize how much “closer” their own worlds have gotten since coming to GW.

“As we walk out of this room, as graduates, we bring with us the power to bring the world closer in whatever field we choose to pursue,” Goldman said.

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