Amal Clooney urges graduates to have courage

Amal Clooney urges grads to have courage as she gives commencement speech at Vanderbilt University

Amal Clooney urged young students at Vanderbilt University to have courage because it inspires others and creates rights for future generations.

The human rights lawyer spoke Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee, for senior day, a part of the university’s commencement activities, where she was given the school’s Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal.

Clooney admitted that she had never been to Tennessee before, but said her husband George Clooney told her the university had a good basketball team.

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Strong message: Amal Clooney urged young students at Vanderbilt University on Thursday to have courage because it inspires others and creates rights for future generations

She noted that students at Vanderbilt who staged sit-ins during the Civil Rights era showed their courage to fight for equal rights. 

But she said courage is still needed to address conditions for women, journalists and LGBT people worldwide.

Amal was just one of the many powerful women taking to podiums across the country this spring. 

Honored: The human rights lawyer spoke Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee, for senior day, a part of the university’s commencement activities, where she was given the school’s Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal 

Great minds: She shared a laugh with the University’s Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos

For the first time in at least two decades, the majority of the nation’s top colleges are featuring women as their commencement speakers, a shift that industry experts credit to the wave of female empowerment that has fueled the #MeToo movement.

Yale is bringing Hillary Clinton. MIT will host Sheryl Sandberg, while Dartmouth chose Mindy Kaling.

Overall, women account for nearly 60 percent of the speakers at the 25 schools that have the largest endowments and traditionally carry the clout to draw big names to the lectern. 


Girl power: For the first time in at least two decades, the majority of the nation’s top colleges are featuring women as their commencement speakers, a shift that industry experts credit to the wave of female empowerment that has fueled the #MeToo movement — Yale is bringing Hillary Clinton. MIT will host Sheryl Sandberg

By contrast, women made up just a quarter of the speakers at those schools over the previous 19 years, according to an Associated Press analysis of university records.

Companies that are hired to find speakers say they’ve seen a surge in requests for women at the same time that the #MeToo movement has shed light on sexual misconduct from Hollywood to Capitol Hill. Demand has grown so quickly that some say they’re struggling to keep up.

‘There’s been a much bigger push to bring in white females, black females – anyone other than a white male,’ said Richard Schelp, owner of Executive Speakers Bureau in Memphis, Tennessee, where 40 percent of recent booking requests from schools and other clients have been for women. ‘We’re digging deep into our reservoir of resources.’ 

Show-stopper:On Monday Amal attended the Met Gala in New York with her husband George Clooney

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