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MEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told graduates at Tufts University on Sunday that whatever their career specialties, they "will live truly global lives" and urged them to work against inequality.
Albright addressed about 10,000 graduates, faculty and guests at the suburban Boston university's Sunday commencement, where she received an honorary doctorate.
She said it is easy to be discouraged and turn away from the "hard truth" of inequality, but said "such unfairness is intolerable, and we each have a responsibility to change it."
She acknowledged recent protests and marches in which "you have made your voices heard on behalf of the voiceless," and confronted issues including campus sexual assault, the deaths of unarmed black men in police confrontations, climate change and worker rights.
Recent Tufts protests supporting unionized custodians facing job cuts by a Tufts contractor were low-key on Sunday. Several students held placards but did not disrupt the event. More than 100 janitors, students and supporters had held a protest march on part of the campus Saturday.
Albright, a Czech immigrant who graduated from another Boston-area college, Wellesley, was the first woman to be secretary of state. She served in the Clinton administration.
She told the graduates they have gained a global perspective studying alongside fellow students from many other countries.
"This outward orientation is vital because the Class of 2015 will live truly global lives," she said. "You will compete in a global workplace, shop in a global marketplace, and travel further and more often than any prior generation."
She called on her Tufts audience to "embrace the faith that ... every barrier to justice brought down by our determination will ennoble our own lives, inspire others, and explode outward the boundaries of what is achievable on this earth."
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