Twenty-two members of the Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy (MIP) Class of 2020 graduated in the program’s first virtual celebration on June 14. The event was held on Zoom in lieu of a formal graduation ceremony, which will be held by the University on campus at a later date. Five additional students in the Class of 2020 plan to graduate at the end of Summer Quarter, while four others will remain at Stanford for another year to pursue joint or dual degrees.
Students in the MIP Class of 2020 are unique in several ways: they’re the first to graduate under the leadership of Francis Fukuyama, who became head of the program in July 2019. They’re also the first to go through the program’s revamped curriculum from start to finish, which includes a new specialization track on cyber policy and a redesigned capstone project.
The 17 women and 14 men in the cohort come from 14 different countries. Some will stay in the Bay Area, while others are heading to places including New York City, Los Angeles, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and beyond. The graduates are starting or continuing careers in government, technology, philanthropy, impact investing, and research.
Students elected cybersecurity expert Alex Stamos, who is the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, to speak at the celebration. Stamos told the graduates that he admires their grit and purpose, noting that many of them have worked for organizations such as the Peace Corps, the Army and the UN, and have come into contact with a reality that most people spend most of their lives avoiding.
"This is a group of people who have put themselves in situations where they knew the scales would be lifted from their eyes, and that the immense challenges of our planet would become manifest,” Stamos said. “You've all chosen to create situations where you could fail. And through both your failures and successes, you have granted yourself grit, which is something that can't be taught.”
Fukuyama concluded the celebration by telling the graduates that he imagines the post-2020 word moving in two different directions: one in which nationalism, xenophobia and polarization lead to international and domestic conflict, and another that includes policies and institutions that are more inclusive and fair.
“I suspect that both of these things are likely to happen, at different times and in different places around the world,” Fukuyama said. “It will be up to you — the Class of 2020 — to do what you can to make sure that we don’t succumb to threats and fears, but rather seize the opportunities to make the world a better place.”