SIPA Graduation Speaker – Kofi Annan

The last month of weather we have had makes our graduation in the spring seem far away, but in reality it’s a mere 15 weeks until the class of 2011 walks across stage to pick up their diplomas.  It should be an especially exciting graduation ceremony this year as it was recently announced that Kofi Annan will be the speaker.  The following is the announcement sent out by our Dean, John Coatsworth.


Columbia University tradition holds that all degrees are conferred at the University Commencement ceremony while each school honors its graduates with a separate and unique event. The University Commencement ceremony of the 257th Academic Year will take place on Wednesday, May 18, 2011. The School of International and Public Affairs Graduation ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 2 P.M.

We are pleased to announce that former U.N. Secretary-General and SIPA Global Fellow Kofi A. Annan will be SIPA’s 2011 Graduation speaker. Mr. Annan was the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations, serving two terms from January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2006, and was the first to emerge from the ranks of United Nations staff.

In 2001, Kofi Annan and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace with the citation praising his leadership for “bringing new life to the organization.”

We are also pleased to announce the new tradition of holding SIPA’s Graduation ceremony on Columbia’s South Lawn. Planned in consultation with the SIPA Student Association Board, this year’s ceremony will provide for more than twice as much guest seating as last year. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony.

More information will be coming as the events approach. We look forward to congratulating you this May.