May 15th, 2020
To the Class of 2020,
You made it! No small feat in the world we live in today. I realize that this graduation comes at a time that is less than ideal. I understand that it is very disappointing to not share this special day in person, with family and friends. I too, and my colleagues, very much wish that we could celebrate with you in person. Unfortunately, we are not able to do so, however, this does not diminish your accomplishment.
Over the past two years, you have all worked incredibly hard to earn your MA in International Relations. You completed a rigorous core curriculum, you selected electives in areas of interest to build your expertise, you hunted down internships, researched theses and capstone projects, all the while navigating life in New York City. You now stand at the precipice of a new beginning – what should be a joyous time, and instead, you find a yawning gap of uncertainty.
I won’t lie to you and say that the next few months will be easy. My heart goes out to all of you starting your professional careers in such a difficult environment. But what I can tell you is that in overcoming adversity, we can learn the most about ourselves, and when tackled positively, we come out the other side stronger, more capable, and more resilient. I have every faith that you 2020 graduates of the IR Program will do just that – you are a tough bunch of New Yorkers.
Even though you leave us physically now – always a bittersweet time for the faculty and staff who’ve had the privileged to work with you the last two years – you are still part of the NYU community. As an alumnus of NYU and the IR Program, you join an expansive network of professionals and I urge you in the coming years to remain connected to this community for both the personal and professional benefits it entails.
Wishing you all the best,
Professor Michael John Williams, Ph.D.
Director, International Relations