“Want Things to Change?” is the message for 2023 graduates. Seize the initiative

The commencement speakers for 2023 included writers, composers, actors, politicians, business executives, and Nobel Prize winners. US President Joe Biden gave a speech to graduates of Howard University in Washington, D.C. Sanna Marin, the prime minister of Finland, gave a speech at NYU. Additionally, Tom Hanks, the actor, stopped into Harvard University to speak. Additional speakers included jazz musician Wynton Marsalis at the University of Michigan, Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and Nobel Prize-winning chemist Carolyn Bertozzi at Stanford University in California, who addressed medical students.

Students generally applauded the speaker’s counsel and support. However, they raised an objection in at least one instance. That happened to David Zaslav, the CEO of Warner Brothers Discovery, on May 21 at Boston University. The students shouted, “Pay your writers!” so loudly that Zaslav had to interrupt himself mid-sentence. Students were backing writers for television and movies who were on strike. Not every incident at Boston University led to controversy. Brown Ketanji Jackson addressed recent law school graduates as the first Black female justice on the United States Supreme Court. Brown Jackson talked about her passion of musical theater and her work as a lawyer.

Sanna Marin, the prime minister of Finland, reminded graduates at New York University that simply wanting change is insufficient. “You have to take charge in order to make changes,” she stated. Marin emphasized to the pupils that they cannot wait for others to find solutions to the world’s issues. She discussed climate change and the conflict in Ukraine. She voiced her worries over artificial intelligence. She also advised the grads to assume responsibility and, if necessary, make adjustments. She declared, “These are problems that must be resolved.” “And you are the only one who can accomplish that.” On May 17, graduates came to hear from Marin, including Sabrina Vazquez. She informed VOA that she agreed with the message.

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