After two years of hard work and study, the 2023 Class of the Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy welcomed friends and family to the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) to celebrate their graduation from the program.
The 25 students in the graduating class hail from 15 different countries, including Albania, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, United States, and Zimbabwe.
Rose Gottemoeller, the Steven C. Házy Lecturer at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) and faculty speaker for the ceremony, praised the new alumni: “These young people take risks. They push themselves and speak up. They’re never afraid of new ideas and new challenges. They are ready for whatever joy ride the 21st century is going to take them on.”
A transcript of Rose Gottemoeller's commencement remarks is available here.
Continuing her remarks, Gottemoeller acknowledged the challenging world the graduates are stepping into as the first generation of students and young professionals to grapple with the potential and problems of generative AI and other powerful new technologies head on.
Speaking to the anxieties many are feeling toward this brave new world of generative technology and rapid innovation, Gottemoeller invoked William Faulkner and his remarks at the 1950 Nobel Banquet: “Man will not merely endure: he will prevail. Because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”
Expanding on Faulkner’s assertion, Gottemoeller offered the graduates four pieces of advice on how to create a thriving, human life and career in an increasingly technologically driven world:
Drawing on her own experience accepting the position as Deputy Secretary of NATO, Gottemoeller told the graduates not to shy away from the unknown. “When something comes along that is out of your comfort zone, take a good hard look at it. Judicious risk-taking is the essence of a successful life,” she affirmed.
Quoting one of her own graduate school professors, Joseph Coates, Gottemoeller urged the graduates to, “Never apologize. Your thoughts and insights are just as good as anybody else’s. Just get them out there.”
“Always remember that it is the joy of creation that makes us special, that surge of inspiration that comes when we are on a roll making a tune, or a poem, or a dance, or even writing a capstone project,” Gottemoeller reminded the graduating class.
Lastly, Gottemoeller encouraged the graduates not to give in to ease for the sake of ease. “It will seem easier some days just to put the question into the chat. Don’t. Start thinking. It is, indeed, what makes us human.”
A Future to Endure For
As the Class of 2023 leaves FSI, they are poised to continue making impact and building on the policymaking and leadership skills they learned while at MIP. Several alumni will be continuing their education at Stanford and UC Berkeley in business, law, engineering, and environmental resources. Others are returning to military service or resuming their roles in various government ministries. And others still are planning to tackle policy issues such as intellectual property, privacy, development, regenerative farming, trust and safety, AI, space technology and national security, and peace and security in consulting roles and as players in the tech industry and ventures or NGOs around the world.
Speaking from her vantage point as a seasoned diplomat, skilled negotiator, and rigorous academic, Gottemoller assured the audience that from her view, the future remains bright.
“As I’ve talked with students these past quarters about the advent of generative AI and how it will affect your lives, I have been heartened by the determination you have shown to sustain your individual creativity and think of ChatGPT as what it is: a tool. You are determined to endure as human beings with the agency to create, to innovate, to love, and to be loved.”