Indonesian student Nadhira Nuraini Afifah was given the honor of presenting the commencement speech to the graduation ceremony of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
The 25-year-old student, who graduated with a master's degree in public health from the school's Global Health and Population Department, was selected to read a speech she had submitted during the virtual graduation ceremony on May 28.
"The school didn't specify any theme [for the speech], so I decided to talk about my experience as a minority student. I talked about how I struggled with it until I found out that Harvard provides musholla [small prayer house] in the campus as well as interfaith networks," Nadhira told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
In her speech, Nadhira stated that working in public health provided people with the privilege of saving millions of lives and improving the health and longevity of future generations.
"In a time of crisis, we realize that no matter how privileged we are, no matter where we come from, we are exposed to the same risks that [can only be overcome] through helping each other," Nadhira said in her speech.
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In her speech, Nadhira highlighted the importance of the public health sector and emphasized that it was vital that people put aside their differences to work together during the current pandemic..
Nadhira also encouraged other young Indonesians, especially those her age, to pursue their dreams. “Don’t be afraid to dream. Pursue your education as high as possible.”
She posted her story about the selection process on her YouTube channel Nadhira Nuraini Afifa.
In her vlog, she said she was not the only Indonesian student awarded the opportunity to deliver a commencement speech at Harvard, as another student named Andhika was also selected to present his speech during the Harvard Law School graduation ceremony.