Grads set to make the world greater, better and more beautiful

Zachary KrahmerThe Maxwell School closed its 2020-2021 academic year the same way it met the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic: a mix of health precautions, expanded technology and commitment to tradition. That meant a prerecorded graduate convocation and faculty farewells via video. Maxwell’s May 22 graduate convocation also included speeches and award presentations, capped with recitation of the Athenian Oath.

“There has never been a more important time for increasing our understanding of the intersection of the social sciences and policy,” David M. Van Slyke, dean of the Maxwell School, said during convocation. “Last year was not only a stark reminder of why we do what we do, it was a wake-up call that we all must work even harder to increase representation of diverse people in our decision-making in leadership, and to center equity, inclusion and justice across these issue areas.”

Citing access to health care, rule of law, the economy and climate change, Van Slyke said: “These grand challenges of our time require a deep understanding of the past and present.”

Maxwell students are well-positioned to take on complex challenges, he added. “Across the world we need active, engaged and thoughtful citizens, individuals with a commitment to diversity of perspectives, experiences and goals [and] people who are willing to listen, learn and participate.”

About 100 midcareer professionals completed Executive Education degrees or certificates, including 72 in the Executive Master of Public Administration (E.M.P.A.) program and 21 in the Executive Master of International Relations (E.M.I.R.) program. Nearly 30 Executive Education students also completed Certificates of Advanced Study in public administration, leadership of international and non-government organizations, conflict and collaboration and others. Graduates represented residential, online and Washington, D.C. degree participants.

“We are always proud of the magnificent work pursued by our Executive Education graduates, but even more so this year,” stated Margaret Lane, assistant director of Executive Education. “With their experience as midcareer professionals dedicated to public service, topped with their perspective gained at Maxwell, they are returning to organizations needing their skills and insights more than ever.”

Zachary Krahmer, who completed the E.M.I.R. program and earned a Certificate of Advanced Studies in conflict resolution, spoke on behalf of the graduating class. “In order to understand and respect the communities we serve, we must listen to our neighbors with the intention to understand, not just respond,” he said.

Krahmer is also a candidate for a master’s in visual communications from the Newhouse School. He previously worked as a photojournalist on Capitol Hill and with journalists in Kyrgyzstan through Search for Common Ground, which addresses conflict and reconciliation.

Noting that they face “a period of intense change” in what he called an individualistic and polarized society, Krahmer urged Executive Education grads to put their analytical and policy skills to work. “Whatever this next chapter brings us, I hope we choose to approach it as bridge builders, problem solvers, deep listeners who care truly enough to desire to understand,” he said. “It's time to roll up our sleeves and be forces for the positive change we wish to see in the world.”

Krahmer closed with a nod to the lifelong relationships and networking Executive Education programs nourish. “Our journey is just the beginning,” he said. “The greatest thing about the Maxwell network is that this isn’t a goodbye. It’s only, ‘See you later.’”

06/22/21