The Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame recognized its graduates—undergraduate, master’s, and PhD—in a celebratory recognition ceremony on May 20, 2023 in the Patricia George Decio Theatre at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
In the company of the graduates’ family and friends, who gathered in person and online from around the world, Keough School faculty and staff honored 49 undergraduates who earned a supplementary major in global affairs, 46 master of global affairs graduates from 21 countries, and two newly minted PhD graduates. The ceremony was part of a weekend-long celebration of Notre Dame’s Commencement, which included a diploma ceremony hosted by the Notre Dame Graduate School.
In his charge to the graduates, Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School encouraged graduates to share not only the timely knowledge and cutting-edge technical skills they had gained while earning their Notre Dame degree, but also to embody the timeless virtues of compassion, care, and strength of character.
“Most everything you have learned these two or four or more years, certainly every technical detail preparing you for a career, will soon be obsolete,” Appleby said. “What we hope and expect will not become obsolete, and what will be in even greater demand in the coming years, is the capacity to make sound judgments—to analyze, to evaluate, to channel the relevant data and knowledge toward solutions and innovations based on your ability to make judgments about human risk and human flourishing, and to perceive what is morally right and morally dangerous to people.
“Yes, you will still need professional knowledge and technical skills but your added value will be rewarded, now more than ever, by the content of your character, by your moral compass and compassion, which will increasingly be prized as a refuge from the gathering storm.”
Also addressing the graduates were master of global affairs graduate María Camila Peralta from Managua, Nicaragua, and undergraduate Hannah Reynolds from Rumson, New Jersey in the United States.
In her warmhearted remarks, Peralta praised the spirit of collaboration among her classmates.
“We became comfortable asking for help and accustomed to offering it,” Peralta said. “Hope thrives in community, and it is nourished in small daily exercises of kindness.”
Peralta recalled the first day of MGA students’ foundational course in integral human development, where the future development professionals, peacebuilders and policymakers discussed their commitment to building a more just and humane world while acknowledging that the necessary deep and radical changes that would be required looked distant and unlikely.
“We asked the question, ‘Is there hope?’” Peralta said.
“In these past two years we have studied the intricate web of politics, economics, and social dynamics that shape our societies, and we are well-equipped to grapple with these complex global challenges,” she said. “But I truly believe that what will set us apart is the lens through which we approach these issues. If the care and compassion I have witnessed from you is an indication of how you will carry yourself moving forward, I have hope.”
Reynolds, an economics and global affairs major, expressed her appreciation for the diverse approaches to global affairs available to students in the Keough School.
“One of the most unique parts of the global affairs program is the interdisciplinary approach to international issues,” she said. “Each student on this stage has a variety of academic interests and personal passions that influence how they view global affairs, making for both dynamic classroom discussion and diverse global experiences.
“We have immersed ourselves in the world, from Singapore to Ghana, from Chile to right here in South Bend, conducting research, engaging with a variety of communities and cultures, and interning with incredible organizations,” Reynolds said. “We have tackled pressing global issues such as access to and equity of education and healthcare, the role of religion in peacekeeping efforts, modern governance and political reform, and immigration policy and refugee resettlement. Each of these experiences have been some of the most impactful parts of our time at Notre Dame and will continue to influence our future careers and vision for our world.”
Catherine Bolten, director of graduate studies at the Keough School’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, introduced the school’s two graduating PhD students: Angela Chesler, who earned a PhD in peace studies and political science, and Mary Tarsha, who earned a PhD in peace studies and psychology.
Following the ceremony, the graduates and their family and friends gathered with Keough School faculty and staff for a reception in the Jenkins Nanovic Hall Forum.
Congratulations to the Class of 2023!