Antioch University Graduate School of Leadership and Change (GSLC) Provost Dr. Laurien Alexandre’s speech championing reading as a cornerstone of democracy was chosen by Civic Nebraska as one of the most inspiring commencement speeches in their Democracy’s Dozen. The 12 graduation speeches selected include calls to action that sustain, strengthen, and build upon our democratic way of life.
Dr. Alexandre presented the speech during GSLC’s 2019 commencement ceremony. Her address highlighted the power of reading as an act of engaged democratic citizenship and charged graduates and those in attendance to “go out and read” to learn, to grow personally and professionally, to expand horizons and to build empathy.
“Today I’m going to tell you to go out and read. Reading is an act of engaged democratic citizenship, of empathy building, and knowledge expanding … The reader, in selecting what to read, is choosing to be his or her own person. Believing in the Constitution’s We the People means defending the right to free thought and imagination – and that right can only be guaranteed by the active participation of every one of us as citizen readers.”
Dr. Alexandre’s address was recognized alongside the other 11 notable speeches including those from Congressman John Lewis at Harvard University in 2017, President Barack Obama at Howard University in 2016, David Foster Wallace at Kenyon College in 2005, Oprah Winfrey at Harvard University in 2013, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at Wellesley in 2015, Zadie Smith at the New School in 2014, and more.
The compelling address, which is meaningful to democracy now more than ever, can be viewed below.
Watch all 12 speeches on the Civic Nebraska website here.