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Hamilton Lugar School ceremony honors class of 2024

School News May 6, 2024
A woman in a black suit stands at an Indiana University podium. Seated on the stage behind her are two rows of people in academic regalia.
Ambassador (ret.) Eunice Reddick speaks at the May 4, 2024 Hamilton Lugar School Commencement Recognition Ceremony

On May 4, the Hamilton Lugar School community gathered for the annual Commencement Recognition Ceremony to celebrate students completing their degrees in the spring and summer of the current year, and those whose degrees were conferred in December.

Ambassador (ret.) Eunice Reddick, an accomplished diplomat with extensive experience shaping U.S. policy on Africa and Asia and expertise in managing people and resources in difficult environments, was the keynote speaker.

Reddick had a distinguished career in the U.S. State Department at home and abroad, culminating in two ambassadorial appointments – in Libreville, Gabon from 2007 to 2010 and in Niamey, Niger from 2014 to 2017.

In her message, Reddick reflected on her career in public diplomacy, and how a Hamilton Lugar School education has prepared the graduates to make a change in the world. She said, “In a world where communication knows no borders, each one of us has the power to be an ambassador for peace and goodwill. Whether through cultural exchanges, volunteer initiatives such as helping to resettle a refugee family, or simply extending a hand of friendship to an HLS student from another country, we can all contribute to building bridges of understanding that transcend national boundaries.”

In closing, Reddick said, “As you venture forth into the world, like your school’s namesakes, Representative Lee Hamilton and Senator Richard Lugar, may you embody the principles of diplomacy with grace, integrity, and a deep respect for the diversity of our global community.”

A man in academic regalia stands at a podium speaking. Dean John Ciorciari addresses the Hamilton Lugar School class of 2024 commencement recognition ceremony.Hamilton Lugar School Dean John Ciorciari then addressed the graduates and their supporters, sharing his thoughts on how their education has prepared them to impact issues they care most about, first by teaching them to engage with complexity, and second by providing the opportunity to learn about “real people in real places.”

He said, “… and that leads directly to a third way you’re well prepared to contribute – because understanding people in all of their diversity is also the path to see our common humanity. That’s the basis of trust and mutual respect, commodities that are sorely lacking in many of the social and political spaces that you’ll encounter. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can help change that through leadership in your peer groups, in your workplaces, and in the broader circles you inhabit.”

Ciorciari introduced the student speakers, explaining that they were selected “based on their strong performance and the ideas they proposed to share.”

A woman in a hijab and black abaya stands at a podium addressing a crowd. Graduate student speaker Miral Alabed speaks at the Hamilton Lugar School class of 2024 commencement recognition ceremony.The first speaker was Miral Alabed, who came to IU as a Fulbright Scholar and earned an M.A. in International Studies. Ciorciari said, “She is a great example of the talented and principled students we are fortunate to have at the Hamilton Lugar School. She’s passionate about languages and the kind of intercultural understanding we need so much in these turbulent times. She speaks Arabic, Spanish and English fluently and has taken Hebrew classes while here at IU.”

Alabed reflected on her experiences, saying, “Being an international student and studying international studies in HLS has taught me the value of perseverance, adaptability, and empathy. It has pushed me beyond my comfort zone, challenged my preconceived notions, and expanded my worldview in profound ways. It has shown me that greatness lies not in the absence of obstacles, but in the ability to overcome them with grace and determination.”

She encouraged her fellow classmates to “…never underestimate your power, especially in the times when you are going to face setbacks and obstacles on your journey. Success is defined by how you respond to these challenges. Be resilient in the face of adversity, and never lose sight of your goals and aspirations.”

Ciorciari then invited the candidates for master’s and doctoral degrees to the stage where Executive Associate Dean David Bosco recognized each of them by name. The ceremony honored six students earning Ph.D.’s – three in East Asian Languages and Cultures, two in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, and one in Central Eurasian Studies, 37 Master of Arts degrees, 19 Master of International Affairs – a joint degree with the O’Neill School of Public Policy, and three integrated BA/MA degrees.

The ceremony also honored those earning 194 undergraduate degrees – 160 Bachelor of Arts and 33 Bachelor of Science degrees.

Isabelle deCastro was selected to speak on behalf of her class. DeCastro earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Law and Spanish, a certificate in Political and Civic Engagement, and a minor in Cybersecurity Policy.

A woman wearing white and red stands at a podium addressing a group. Student speaker Isabelle deCastro addresses the Hamilton Lugar School class of 2024 commencement recognition ceremony.Addressing her fellow graduates, she said, “Bear with me as I take us back four years. It’s May 2020. The eve of high school graduation during the midst of the pandemic. As you know, there was A LOT of time to be alone with your thoughts. Just like most of you, I left high school with very little closure due to the pandemic. I wrote in my journal, ‘I’m never going to find this feeling of community again.’”

She continued, “Little did I know, every part of that sentence would be wrong.”

Fortunately, her fears were unfounded. DeCastro said, “After spending four years here, it is hard to not see the Hamilton Lugar School as a community…”

After reflecting on some of the many accomplishments of her classmates, deCastro addressed the range of feelings one might feel at commencement. She said, “So, whether you’re scared, excited, terrified, or happy it is all over, there is something each and every one of us is: prepared. Yes, the Hamilton Lugar School has prepared us to be globally minded and globally ready to create a positive difference in the world, but what’s more special is that each of us gets to take away is how this school has prepared us to be thoughtful and empathetic humans ready to leave each place we go after this better than when we found it.”

She encouraged her classmates to embrace change, saying, “In a world marred by challenges and uncertainties, it is our collective duty to rise above complacency and inertia. Let us not be daunted by the enormity of the problems we face, but rather let them ignite a fire within us, a fire fueled by our knowledge, passion, and unwavering determination. Now is the time to channel our intellect and empathy to be the architects of change, the champions of justice, and the generation of hope.”

Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Affairs Isak Nti Asare recognized each of the undergraduate candidates present at the event, then all those present were invited to participate in a reception at the Hamilton Lugar School.

People in pairs and small groups visit and eat refreshments outdoors on the lawn of the Hamilton Lugar School.


Hamilton Lugar School

Linda Bollivar

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