We hosted and co-sponsored a variety of inspiring speakers including California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, ’80, JD ’84; former U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, ’86; former U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power; Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza; and civil rights activist Carmen Perez. In November, Rice engaged an audience of over 300 students and Stanford affiliates in a frank discussion with former U.S. Ambassador Mike McFaul regarding her career in public service and tenure as President Obama’s National Security Advisor.
In February, our special events team hosted an event with the Deputy Consul Generals of South Korea and Japan to discuss the North Korean nuclear threat. Students left the discussion on a hopeful note, recognizing that diplomacy was still a viable option. Also in February, we co-sponsored the Tanner Lectures on Human Values with Ambassador Samantha Power. Ambassador Power delivered two lectures, one about the power of ordinary citizens in our history who lead principled and effective change, and the other about the United States’ role in reinvigorating diplomacy after darkness. We were able to secure a private reception with Ambassador Power in which Ambassador Power discussed her career and offered advice about serving in government. She recognized that substantive change takes time to take effect, but through dedication, commitment to values, and creative thinking, we can tackle any problem. Students left this reception inspired to enter government and specifically the foreign service.
Our final event of the year in late May with Alicia Garza and Carmen Perez reflects our desire to push SIG into a new direction. We have historically focused on bringing speakers who have engaged in traditional forms of policy-making. This value is present in our original charter, which is to engage students within the nexus of policy, politics, and service. By partnering with diverse student organizations to plan this event, we expanded our mission to showcase the power of policy, politics, service, and activism as effective tools for social change.