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Home » Fareed Zakaria’s Speech at Harvard University Commencement 2012 (Transcript)

Fareed Zakaria’s Speech at Harvard University Commencement 2012 (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Indian-born American journalist Fareed Zakaria’s speech at Harvard University Commencement 2012.

Listen to the audio version here:


Thank you so much, President Faust, fellows of the Corporation, members of the Board of Overseers, ladies and gentlemen, above all, students, graduating students, thank you so much for asking me to do this. I have to say to the students here, you are already way ahead of me.

You see, I actually have never made my commencement either from college or from my Ph.D. program. I did, as you heard, go to a small college south of here in a little town called New Haven and I perhaps got it wrong and celebrated a little bit too much the night before commencement.

And so the honest truth is I slept through my college commencement. When I finally made it to Harvard, I got a job before commencement and I had to be working in New York, couldn’t take the day off. I got my degree in the mail. So 19 years later, I am finally honored to receive in person a Harvard degree.

Harvard Experience

Thank you. Harvard was for me a dazzling revelation. Contrary to the conventional wisdom on this campus, it is possible to get a fine education at Yale, which I did, but the great graduate programs of Harvard and their scope and their scale and their worldliness and ambition were just an electric experience and I soaked it in.

Now, to get a Ph.D. involves many, many hours of grueling work. It also involves many hours of goofing off, acquiring hobbies and interests and exploiting the great resources of this university. I mean the libraries and the cafes.

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