Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Lithuanian President Tells SFS Grads to Embrace Challenges


Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite (GRD ’92) encouraged graduating seniors to embrace challenges at the School of Foreign Service commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon.

Grybauskaite, who was an economics fellow at the SFSfrom 1990 to 1992, was elected as head of state in 2009. Before being elected Lithuania’s first female president, she served in the Lithuanian Department of Foreign Affairs as Lithuania’s finance minister and as European Union budget commissioner.

The SFS ceremony proceeded in a different order than originally scheduled in the program, with the conferring of the degrees preceding the commencement address.

Government and SFS professor Angela Stent read the honorary degree citation for Grybauskaite. University President John J. DeGioia conferred upon the head of state the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

“The president’s achievements were the result of determination, hard work, intellect and perseverance,” Stent said. “This makes her both beacon and icon not only for the women and men who graduating today but for aspiring young people around the world.”

Grybauskaite began by addressing the graduating SFS students as colleagues and discussed how her time at Georgetown influenced her.

“For you, dear colleagues, because you are my colleagues, after 20 years it will also be a possibility to become a president somewhere, sometime,” she said. “I understand how important today is for you. For me that was 21 years ago that I was here.”

Grybauskaite left Lithuania to study at Georgetown shortly after her country achieved independence from the Soviet Union.

“While studying here I experienced real freedom,” she said. “After the program I came back home with newly issued documents and with a better vision for my country in my heart.”

After she returned home from studying at Georgetown, Lithuania was experiencing massive change.

“Avoid anything that is easy. Embrace the difficult,” Grybauskaite said. “My generation was destined to be born under occupation but blessed with an opportunity to live in the times of change. We did not simply witness change, we lived the change. We were the change, and we still are.”

Grybauskaite said that as seniors leave Georgetown to begin their careers, they will experience difficulties.

“Do not shy away from challenges, never, that will come your way in your life. They are the wave you have to ride in order not to stay behind,” she said. “Yes, it requires courage and strength but also brings satisfaction and joyful moments that you can do it. And it brings you and your country a lot of steps forward.”

To conclude her eight-minute speech, the Lithuanian president encouraged seniors to take risks.

“You need to have courage and responsibility to make a difference, no matter how hard,”Grybauskaite said. “You can correct mistakes. What you cannot correct is missed opportunities.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Hoya Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *