Chimamanda Adichie announced Harvard’s Class Day Speaker

Harvard College has announced Nigerian-born writer, and influential cultural critic, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as the College’s Class Day speaker for 2018.

The multiple award-winning author, based on this selection, would be addressing graduating seniors on 23rd May, 2018, which is the the day before Harvard’s 367th Commencement.

“We are honored to welcome Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as our Class Day speaker.

“Her eloquence and perspective as a writer and public speaker have inspired audiences to look beyond stereotypes and social norms to recognize our common humanity,” co-chair of the speaker selection committee, First Marshal Berkeley Brown ’18 stated.

EduCeleb.com reports that since 1968, the Harvard College Senior Class Committee has invited a guest speaker for Class Day. Prior to then, the honour was given to University affiliates, such as deans, faculty, or classmates.

The first invited guest was Martin Luther King Jr., who accepted the invitation shortly before his assassination. His widow, Coretta Scott King, delivered the speech in his absence and also became the first woman to give a Class Day address at Harvard.

Since that time, speakers have spanned fields including politics, social activism, journalism, film, comedy, and more

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Ms Adichie’s work has been translated into more than 30 languages. She authored Adichie the novels “Purple Hibiscus,” which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; “Half of a Yellow Sun,” which won the Orange Prize; and “Americanah,” a 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award winner, which she finalised during a fellowship year at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Her most recent book, “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions,” was published in March 2017.

Popularly described as a compelling storyteller, Adichie has delivered two landmark TED talks: “ The Danger of a Single Story” in 2009, and her 2012 TEDxEuston talk “ We Should All Be Feminists,” which started a worldwide conversation about feminism and was published as a book in 2014.

Co-chair of the speaker selection committee, Jerry Nelluvelil, alluded that Adichie was selected based on the compelling nature of her works as well as the TED talk.

“In her captivating TED talks, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie urges us to better understand one another’s stories and to plan for ‘a world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves.

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“This is a powerful message for our class to hear as we reflect on our time at Harvard and prepare to write the next chapter of our stories,” Mr Nelluvelil said.

Adichie is also the co-founder of Farafina Trust, a Nigerian nonprofit that promotes reading, writing, social introspection, and engagement with society through the literary arts.

In addition to Adichie’s address, Class Day includes award presentations and student orations.

News Reporter
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