GLS Alumni on Stage

GLS at the screening of Refuge. From left: Madison, Claudia, me, and Max.

Last week, three GLS alumni returned to NYU to raise awareness of the European refugee crisis. Maximilian Guen (GLS ’14) and his Magna Carta production company co-founder Matthew K. Firpo (Tisch ’12) screened their latest project, Refuge, a documentary of human stories from the European refugee crisis. Madison McCormick (GLS ’16) and Claudia Cereceda (GLS ’16) participated in the panel that followed, both having done original research on the issue last spring.

Each took a break from his or her busy careers – Max, newly named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Marketing and Advertising; Madison earning an International Relations M.A. while working for Global Business Coalition for Education; and Claudia on staff with the Mayor of New York as Special Assistant to the First Lady.

These and many other GLS alumni are living the goals that they had set for themselves as students. In GLS, we say that our students do not just learn to be global citizens – each of us automatically is that – but that they learn to be agents of change in a changing world.

Max, Madison, and Claudia – and other graduates volunteering with the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, supporting operations at the White House, consulting for the United Nations Population Fund, studying law at Harvard, making international connections with Fulbright Fellowships, and more — are changing the world in many fields and across the globe.

It’s a pleasure for me to partner with GLS graduates whose work brings them back to NYU for a special occasion, especially when the topic is as critical as the refugee crisis. But nothing could be more deeply gratifying than seeing the work they carry out every day outside of NYU, making our world a better place­­.

“We learned how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.” – Catalina Escalona, Valedictorian, GLS Class of 2015

As you, the 2015 graduates of Global Liberal Studies, begin your first jobs, enroll in graduate school, and become NYU alumni instead of NYU students, I encourage you to remember all that you celebrated during this week of graduation.

In Global Liberal Studies, not only have you sharpened your problem-solving skills, built a strong foundation in world cultures, and pursued double majors, internships, and foreign language proficiency — you also have developed the rare ability to thrive amidst uncertainty.

You proved this as first-year students, enrolling in GLS during the program’s infancy. You proved it again when you dispersed throughout NYU’s global network for your junior year abroad, facing situations that challenged your foreign language skills, sense of boundaries, and understanding of your place in the world. With your senior theses, you proved it once again by pioneering original research on topics that you identified as most compelling.

Hold tight to your sense of adventure, your passion for charting new territory, and your confidence in doing so as you take the next steps toward your future. In our rapidly changing world, you can expect the unexpected — and as a GLS graduate, know that you are ready to meet it head on.