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Celebrating the Class of 2019

May 22, 2019

The school celebrated its 75th graduating class with family, friends, and supporters at D.A.R. Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. Dean Vali Nasr congratulated 468 new alumni representing 55 different countries, commending them for their talent, dedication, and scholastic achievement.

Nasr brought attention to the school’s historic role in 1943 as founders and faculty members contributed to the design and implementation of the multilateral institutions that would become the foundation for the post-war international world order. Today that order is being questioned, Nasr said, and the new generation of leaders will be responsible for evolving the global system to improve outcomes for all nations.

Graduates heard a rousing call to action by commencement speaker Ambassador Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The ambassador, also a Johns Hopkins University alumnus, called on the Class of 2019 to use their mobility to live and work internationally, to boldly defend the rights of all people, to master their discipline and then summon the courage to change and take on new challenges. Declaring the graduates to be among the smartest people on the planet, Hussein told those assembled, “Now go out and smooth the sharp edges of those who mean us ill. Dispense with fear and nurture and cradle this blue earth for us all.”

Student Government Association President Joshua Henderson noted that the Class of 2019 had witnessed major geopolitical events during their studies, including “Brexit” negotiations which predated and outlasted his term as a graduate student. Master of Arts graduate Cecilia Panella gave the student address, remarking on the habits a Johns Hopkins SAIS education had instilled, such as confronting and questioning difficult issues, lifelong intellectual growth, and challenging those around you.

This year’s student award recipients included Soon-Wong Hong and Rebecca Kim for the William C. Foster Award for distinguished service to the school. Maya Gainer, Matthew Giebler, Chau Hoang, Tyler Kellermann, and Megan Seiboldt were presented the Christian A. Herter Award for outstanding academic achievement.  

For their excellence in teaching, the following faculty members were presented awards at the Commencement ceremony for academic year 2018-19:

  • Economics: John Harrington, Senior Lecturer

  • International Development: Daniel Honig, Assistant Professor

  • Regional Studies: Monica de Bolle, Riordan Roett Chair and Director of Latin American Studies

  • Language Studies: Saida Erradi, Senior Lecturer of Arabic

  • Outstanding Adjunct Lecturer: John Banks, Energy, Resources and Environment

The 2019 Dean’s Award for Exemplary Service was presented to Professor Monica de Bolle, Riordan Roett Chair and Director of Latin American Studies and Director of Emerging Markets.

The school will also host graduation ceremonies May 25 at the SAIS Europe campus in Bologna, Italy, and June 14 at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in Nanjing, China.

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