Class of 2018 graduates embody global citizenry and leadership

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2018 commencement

GPS Commencement 2018

With a keynote by international financial leader and diplomat Robert Hormats, GPS graduated 158 students at its 30th commencement ceremony on June 17

By Rachel Hommel | GPS News

Do sweat the small stuff. And do it with a fervor. Sage advice from Robert Hormats, diplomat, world leader and this year’s commencement speaker.

GPS Commencement 2018Over the last thirty years, UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) has graduated leaders that have spanned such disciplines as international affairs, public policy and economics. They have become data analysts, humanitarians, commanders, diplomats, business leaders…to name a few.

Scattered across the globe, our GPS students and alumni are advocates of diversity, equity and inclusion. Dedicated to the analysis of society’s challenges and opportunities, Dean Peter Cowhey addressed this year’s future changemakers, noting their role in the everchanging world of international affairs.

“We observe a world where events steadily defy many of the assumptions that informed the education and research of the world’s leading schools of international affairs and public policy,” said Cowhey. “What does not change is the need for leaders committed to understanding our differences while inventing strategies to benefit the whole of global society.”

On June 17, GPS graduated 158 global citizens, bestowing 91 MIA degrees, 38 MAS-IA degrees, 10 BA/MIA degrees and for the first year, 19 MPP degrees. Assistant Professor Jennifer Burney and Associate Professor Krislert Samphantharak conducted the hooding of graduates, with more than 700 faculty, staff, friends and family in attendance.

“Although all of the students have travelled different paths to today’s graduation, we have no doubt that they have built lifelong friendships that will continue to span borders and cultures,” said Cowhey.

GPS Commencement 2018Robert Hormats, vice chair at Kissinger Associates and former Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs, served as the keynote for GPS’s graduation, highlighting the importance of a relentless sense of inquiry – start small and always stay curious.

“Begin by being great at doing small things. Do those small things with passion. With a commitment to excellence. With a high level of energy. With a relentless sense of inquiry,” said Hormats. “If you do, you ultimately will be great at doing the really big things. And you will leave your mark in the world.”

Graduating the next generation of changemakers, Hormats encouraged students to tap into the intersectionality of their vast and varied backgrounds. Start out by doing little things, applying formidable skills, energy and passion.

“While it’s easy to be cynical about the state of our world, as I look out over the class of 2018 today, I see in each of you a leader and a model for the future,” said Hormats. “Rather than marginalizing your different heritages and experiences, you include them consciously in your work. This is your strength as a group and as individuals.”

This year’s student commencement speaker Gabriela “Gabi” Rubio, MPP ’18 highlighted in her speech the role of global voices and diversity is key, building lifelong friendships that will continue to span borders and cultures. In fact, 49 percent of the graduating class were from outside of the United States – from Brazil to China to Russia – reinforcing this point.

“Champion diversity everywhere you go. As we have witnessed, diversity is a strength, not a hold back and remember what most governments forget: we are all human,” said Rubio. “Carry this feeling into the future by remembering our time at GPS and the community we built.”

GPS Commencement 2018Rubio is among the first class to receive the new MPP degree. Putting her public policy degree to work long before graduation, Rubio led and founded the Public Policy Series, a new student organization dedicated to the promotion of policymaking among the GPS community. Within its first month of operating, she helped raise approximately $700 for Haitian refugee shelters in Tijuana.

In addition to her humanitarian work, she worked closely with Professor Rafael Fernández de Castro to conduct the first national poll in Mexico to measure public opinion on energy reform.

With the lessons nurtured at GPS, she hopes to expand a startup business with GPS alum, Alexis Rivera Ballesteros ‘16, to assist in waste technology in Tijuana, Mexico post-graduation.

“Today, more than ever, I want to remind my classmates that we have the responsibility to be brave. To stand up for our statistically significant results,” said Rubio. “It took me six years to get here. I never gave up. I encourage you to go back to the world and dare to make things happen.”

View more photos from the 2018 GPS commencement. Please note the ceremony starts at 11:38 for the video listed below.

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