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SAIS Europe Commencement 2024

May 18, 2024

The Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe community celebrated the accomplishments of the Class of 2024 in a beautiful commencement ceremony held on May 18th, 2024. With 600 attendees in person and many more online, the event brought together graduates, their families and friends, SAIS faculty, staff, and alumni for the school’s 69th commencement at the Teatro Medica Palace on a gorgeous sunny day in Bologna, Italy.

The ceremony honored the graduates of SAIS Europe 2024, marking the end of their academic journey and celebrating their “Bologna year.” Degrees were conferred in various programs, including the Master of Arts in International Affairs, Master of International Public Policy, Master of Arts in European Public Policy, Master of Arts in Global Risk, SAIS Europe Diploma, and the Doctor of International Affairs.

Zeinab Badawi, an acclaimed Sudanese British broadcaster, journalist, and president of SOAS University of London, delivered the commencement address. Drawing from her extensive experience in international relations, Badawi gave an engaging and impactful speech, which served as a highlight of the students’ academic year and an inspiring example for their future endeavors. She stated, “The power of youth is very valuable when channeled in the right way, and this is the benefit of the educational experience you have had.” 

Badawi urged the Class of 2024 graduates, who came together in Bologna from more than 40 different countries, to “seize the moment”; reminding them that now is the time to “mold the world” according to their values and ideals. Drawing upon the many conversations she has had with international leaders throughout her career, Badawi identified compassion and passion as two of the most important values to carry through life. She stated: “With compassion you identify the right thing to do, and with passion you really make it happen.”

SAIS Europe Rector Renaud Dehousse connected via Zoom noted: “The spirit of collaboration, the fervor for learning, and the shared commitment to our institution have left a profound impression on me. Even in these challenging times, our conversations spanning Bologna, Washington, and Baltimore have only reinforced my optimism about our future.” He added: “As you step forward into your next chapters, carry with you the lessons learned and the friendships made. Be bold, be curious, and above all, be the change you wish to see in the world.”

During the ceremony, faculty and staff were also celebrated. For 2024, the winner of the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award was Fabrizio Jacobellis. An adjunct professor at SAIS Europe for more than 15 years and a proud alumnus of the Class of 2002 (DC 2003), Professor Jacobellis was honored for his exceptional commitment, enthusiasm, and ability to connect. “SAIS has a unique, special place in my heart,” Jacobellis stated. “And the teaching opportunity is a privilege for me on how to contribute to the school and its students.”

The student awards included the Grove Haines Awards, named after the Bologna Center founder and longtime director, commemorating his commitment to graduate-level education in international affairs, and the Excellence in Gender Research Prize.  Here are the prize winners and the titles of their winning papers:

  • Josefine Petrick: COVAX: A Case of Successful International Cooperation or a Mechanism Hijacked by National Interests?

  • Andreas Janssen: After the Carnival Comes the Pantomime: Czech Literary Resistance during Normalization

  • Jack Kennedy: If It’s Worth Killing It’s Worth Overkilling: Nuclear Threats as Weapons of War

  • Jacob Wentz: Reel Potential: How Documentaries Bring the LGBTI Community into Focus in Turkey

The ceremony concluded with two video compilations: one focused on the SAIS Europe student experience, the other offering congratulations from faculty and staff. These heartfelt videos showcased the close-knit community and highlighted how special the Bologna experience is, leaving graduates with an emotional sendoff.

After the ceremony, students returned to the Bologna Center for a dinner and party, with the now traditional mariachi band making its way around the building.

Those of us left at SAIS Europe already miss the Class of 2024 but wish them the best – in their final year in DC or Nanjing or in their jobs around the world.

Commencement Photo Album

SAIS Europe Commencement 2024
SAIS Europe Commencement 2024
SAIS Europe Commencement 2024
SAIS Europe Commencement 2024
SAIS Europe Commencement 2024
SAIS Europe Commencement 2024