Globally celebrated author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, was the guest speaker at the 2022 commencement ceremony of the Yale Law School, United States of America, which took place recently.
The renowned US law school held a commencement ceremony for the 2022 set of the college at the historic old campus of the university in New Haven, Connecticut.
Introducing Adichie as the guest speaker, Dean of the Yale Law School, Heather K. Gerken, extolled her virtues and academic prowess.
Describing her as one of the most vital, intelligent novelists of this generation, Gerken said: “Perhaps it seems her work explores the experiences of immigrants, Black people in America and women, but her work demonstrates the exploration of different identities straight to the heart of who we are.”
Starting her speech with a congratulatory message to friends and families of the graduating students, Chimamanda Adichie noted that it is a good fortune for them to witness their loved ones graduate from the best law school in the country.
In her speech to encourage the graduating students, she listed ways through which they could use their law degrees to change society.
According to her, “You can wrest justice from an American justice system that is often unjust; you can in no matter how small a way, change the legal system that continues to accord values on the basis of how much money you have, the colour of your skin, who you love, where you pray. You can have that beautiful but unfulfilled ideal of equal justice under the law as the propelling force of your life’s forces.
“I hope you know that idealism versus realism is a false choice? And I hope you continue to refuse to accept that unacceptable things must remain as they are.”
Highlighting reasons why the graduating students should be kind and not nice in their future endeavors, the novelist noted that kindness is a measure of humanity while being nice is always wanting to be liked, which is a particular affliction of female socialisation.
“Nice will not remake the world. There is so much about our world that needs remaking, and having this degree means you can remake the world if you choose to.” Adichie added.
In her final remarks, Adichie stressed the urgency of the happiness potential, saying: “The world is a multifaceted place, imperfect but beautiful, full of friendships waiting to be formed, ideas waiting to be explored, experiences waiting to be had, good deeds waiting to be done. It helps to make peace with uncertainty. It helps to know that nobody is ever together as they seem.”
She emphasised the role of happiness in finding true meaning. “and maybe it is time to reform that incredibly American ideal of the pursuit of happiness so that perhaps we might seek in life not so much happiness as meaning because meaning should bring happiness.”
However, Chimamanda is no stranger to Yale University, as she graduated with a Master of Arts in African Studies in 2008 and was later awarded an honorary doctorate.
In 2019, she became the first African to deliver the Class Day Speech at Yale College. Joining an exclusive list of Yale Class Day speakers, which includes current President of the United States, Joe Biden; former US First Lady, Hillary Clinton; Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair; renowned television journalist Barbara Walters; Oscar-winning actor, Tom Hanks, and many more.
Also speaking at the ceremony was James J. Silk, Binger Clinical Professor of Human Rights, who was introduced as the faculty Speaker for the 2022 commencement ceremony. In his faculty speech He further emphasised the need for kindness in today’s world which involves having the courage to stand up for what is right and just.
With graduating students drawn from countries worldwide, this year’s Yale University Commencement honoured 252 degree candidates.