By Socrates Mbamalu
Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is set to address the Harvard College Class of 2018 on the 23rd of May. Previous invited speakers include Martin Luther King Jr. who was represented by his wife, Coretta Scott King in 1968. King accepted the invitation before he was assassinated in April and his wife spoke in his place.
Just a day before Harvard’s 367th Commencement, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will be addressing the Harvard College Class of 2018, the graduating set on May 23rd.
The author of Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions recently told her story of how she was sexually harassed. She has been a strong advocate for gender equality.
The co-chair of the speaker selection committee First Marshal Berkeley said, “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.”
According to the release, the Harvard College Senior Class Committee has invited a guest speaker for Class Day since 1968. Martin Luther King Jr was the first invited guest speaker. Coretta Scott King however delivered the speech on his behalf. She became the first woman to give a class Day address at Harvard. (King accepted the invitation before he was assassinated in April. His wife spoke in his place.)
Jerry Nelluvelil, co-chair of the speaker selection committee said “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.’ 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.”
The honor of guest speaker for Class Day was usually reserved for University affiliates, such as deans, faculty, or classmates. However, speakers have spanned fields including politics, social activism, journalism, film, comedy, and more. In addition to Adichie’s address, Class Day includes award presentations and student orations.