School of Diplomacy Celebrates Graduate Hooding and Commencement
On May 19, 2023, the School of Diplomacy and International Relations celebrated 47 graduate students, 36 with Masters of Art in Diplomacy and International Relations, and 11 with Executive Masters of Science in International Affairs in the commencement and hooding ceremony in the newly renovated University Center. Franklin Shobe was recognized for his academic excellence of a 4.0 though out his time in the School of Diplomacy. Ambassador Christopher P. Lu, the Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform, delivered the keynote address.
Father Brian Muzás, Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for United Nations and Global Governance Studies, delivered the Invocation to the Class of 2023 and prayed for "the world’s newest ambassadors, the world’s freshest diplomats, the world’s most eager negotiators, scholars, analysts, and advocates" to keep in mind the "dignity of every human being" as they look forward to careers in diplomacy, law, business, and international relations.
Welcome from Dean Smith
In his welcoming address, Dean Courtney Smith celebrated the graduates with a seven-part speech that culminated with this line, "Do all the good you can by all the means you can all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can to all the people you can, as long as you can." Dean Smith highlighted the words that appear the most often in the speech: all and can, and encouraged the graduates to focus not on "all… as it captures the ambition and energy of the moment," but instead focus on the word "can." It can seem overwhelming when it comes to addressing the multitude and magnitude of stressors in the world. With their Seton Hall education, though, the "graduates built [their] knowledge and skills so [they] can do more than [they] could before." Even the former Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, the number two official at the U.N., believed that "nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something." With that in mind, Dean Smith concluded that each graduating student is prepared to go out into the world "doing good, as best we can."
In his keynote address to the room, Ambassador Lu discussed the relationship between foreign policy and domestic policy and said,
"I realized that in this interconnected world, what defines a foreign policy issue and what defines a domestic policy issue is not as clear as it used to be…. International relations is a complex puzzle, where the pieces of foreign policy and domestic policy are tightly connected – often in ways not immediately apparent. The decisions we make domestically have far-reaching implications on the global stage, while our foreign policy priorities and values shape the way we address domestic challenges."
Ambassador Lu pointed out that as the next generation of diplomats, policymakers, and advocates, the graduates would need to see the complex interconnectedness of the world and use every tool they received from their education at Seton Hall to address these issues. He also encouraged the graduates to continue to expand the tools in their toolbox, "step outside [their] comfort zones, synthesize diverse perspectives, and draw on [their] past experiences."
The graduating students chose a classmate to deliver an address on their behalf, and this year they chose Christina Grossen. Christina thanked those who helped support the graduates: their parents, family, friends, and teachers, and acknowledged that "behind every strong woman are five strong women who proofread her email really quick when they get a chance."
She also encouraged the students to take time and revel in and celebrate their accomplishments, both big and small. She also talked about how things can feel overwhelming, and she told a story about a drawing she had done as a child of a little blue dinosaur and its declaration of being.
"I've thought a lot about that dinosaur this last semester as we prepare to go out into the world to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges – thoughtful consumption of media, protecting the environment, and addressing war, conflict, and systemic oppression.
So this is my hope, prayer, and wish for all of us – that at the end of the day, we can look back, feeling content, and say, "This is what I am, and I am happy for what I do.'"
After conferring the degrees and the hooding ceremony, President of the Diplomacy Alumni Board Colin Hart welcomed the graduates into the esteemed alum network. He encouraged the students to connect with their fellow alums as a "great reminder that there are people seeking to do good."
Congratulations, Class of 2023! We are incredibly proud of you and look forward to the great things to come!