Maria Katarina Calderoni, Valedictorian of the Class of 2022, gave the following remarks at Commencement at the Fairmont Hotel on May 14, 2022.
Buongiorno Dr. Hanson, Chancellor Lenczowski, Chairman Lovewell, President Woś, Dean Robbins, honored guests, and the students and faculty of The Institute of World Politics. Thank you for joining us today to celebrate the IWP Class of 2022. I am honored to speak with you for a few minutes as the Valedictorian of this graduating class.
To my fellow graduates, congratulations! We are graduating from IWP with a fine understanding of the elements of statecraft and the founding principles of our American Republic. This knowledge will serve us well as we embark on our careers as public servants and in our lives as private citizens. We have had the privilege of spending two years under the mentorship of ambassadors, senior intelligence officials, presidential advisers, and thought leaders in international affairs. Others read about such leaders; we got to read with them.
When I decided to attend IWP I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was attracted to the Institute’s mission and scholar-practitioner instruction. But moving to D.C. to enroll in a small and little-known school was daunting. I’m happy I did. My first day at orientation I met a baker, Army cadet, Silicon Valley tech bro, an Argentina enthusiast, and many other future public servants. Since that first online encounter, where it was clear that we all share a similar desire to serve, I’ve been confident in my decision.
As this year’s Valedictorian, I’ve been asked to share my thoughts with those present today. I’ll be honest. I find it quite difficult to advise you. This class has already accomplished so much. Each of you came to IWP with a unique background and career, and in many cases with far more experience than I have.
As I reflected on what to say for days, I thought it prudent to talk not about the virtues our class possesses, but the duties we owe to The Institute of World Politics and future graduates. We must remember that we represent the Institute to critics and supporters alike. Our school is small and only three decades old. We don’t have a centuries-long legacy. We are building that legacy. Our reputation will become the Institute’s reputation. The decisions we make in our careers and in our private lives will shape the future of our school. We must give to IWP’s reputation as the Institute has given to us. To make our impact a positive one, we must each make virtue a habit. Honesty, integrity, courage. This is our duty to the Institute, to ourselves, and to future graduates.
I have great faith in our class’ ability to fulfill this duty. To use the verbiage of probability common in the Intelligence Community today, I am nearly certain that these graduates will represent IWP in a first class manner, in no small part thanks to the unique education in Western Moral Tradition that the Institute provides.
I look forward to hearing about each of your successes in the years to come.
Thank you very much, and God bless.