May 25, 2017

The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) held its 73rd commencement ceremony on May 25. The school conferred degrees to more than 500 students in the Master of Arts (MA), Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance (MIEF), Master of Arts in Global Policy (GPP), Master of International Public Policy (MIPP), and Doctorate programs.

Hailing from 48 different countries, Dean Vali Nasr said the Class of 2017 represented a “rich diversity of ambitions and goals.” In his address, he reminded the graduates the importance of their future roles and said that despite partisan gridlock, unrest in international order, and daunting news headlines, “people who can understand and translate complexities of a changing world – and can lead effectively with that knowledge in hand—are needed now more than ever before.”

Nasr told the graduates as they go into the real world, remember “to think critically; to root your ideas and views in theory and practice – but also in compassion and understanding.” He added, “be futuristic in your thinking – but keep your ideas grounded in history and the lessons we have already learned; and finally, to remember who you are and what you stand for.”

Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, who leads the nation’s second largest philanthropy, delivered the keynote address on embracing the responsibility to act in the face of fear. “I implore you to embrace your responsibility to act,” he said. “Act on behalf of those who are afraid, but still aspire to the very freedoms we are so lucky to enjoy. Act with integrity. Act with care, and act with courage.”

Graduates Marco Dongheon Kim and Christian Maximillian Stadler received the William C. Foster Award for distinguished service to the school, and Gautam Vishram Mehta was presented with the Christian A. Herter Award for outstanding academic achievement.

The Max M. Fisher Prize for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Assistant Professor of International Political Economy David A. Steinberg. Sarah Brown O’Hagan (’86), trustee of Johns Hopkins University and chair of the school’s Board of Advisors, received the Founders Award for extraordinary support to the school.

A commencement celebration was held at SAIS Europe on May 20 and featured a keynote address by Martin E. Fraenkel (B’83, ’84), president of S&P Global Platts in London. Adjunct Professor of Middle East Studies Sanam Vakil (’01, PhD ’05) was awarded the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award.

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center commencement ceremony will be held on June 9.  

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