Amal Clooney Gives Powerful Commencement Speech at Vanderbilt University

Human rights lawyer and activist Amal Clooney spoke to students at Vanderbilt University on Thursday, as part of the school’s commencement activities, where she gave a powerful speech imploring those in attendance to have and spread courage during times of adversity.

“Courage, as they say, is contagious. People who have the courage to change their societies—in India, in South Africa, in the United States—inspire each other and create rights for future generations,” Amal said in a video posted to YouTube. “But when I look at the world today, I see that courage is needed more than ever.”

The wife of movie icon George Clooney talked about the challenges and civil rights abuses that many people face around the world.

“At a time when women all over the world face physical abuse, restrictions on their ability to work, own property, travel and even have custody over their children, we need courage,” the 40-year-old political activist said. “At a time when the LGBT community and every continent struggles for equal rights, freedom from imprisonment and even death, we need courage.”

Amal was honored by the university with 2018 Nichols Chancellor’s Medal. She added that courage was the trait that will define the young students as a person. “Character traits like persistence, ambition, inquisitiveness and grit that will determine your success,” she shared. “However, the thing that will define you as a person is your courage. That is the virtue on which all others depend.”

“We need young people with the courage to say this is our world now and there’s going to be some changes,” Amal continued. “Be courageous. Challenge orthodoxy. Stand up for what you believe in. When you are in your rocking chair talking to your grandchildren many years from now, be sure you have a good story to tell.”

Nick Zeppos, the Chancellor of Vanderbilt University said that Amal plans to donate the honorarium given to her by the university to the Clooney Foundation for Justice.

Earlier in the week, Amal attended the 2018 Met Gala where she served as the co-chair alongside Rihanna and Donatella Versace. She and her husband looked amazing together on the red carpet, where she stunned a gorgeous strapless outfit created by British designer Richard Quinn, ET reports.