Amal Clooney Calls for 'Courage' in Powerful Commencement Speech -- Watch!
By Zach Seemayer
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Amal Clooney is the inspirational force the world needs these days.
The human rights lawyer, activist, fashion icon and wife of movie star George Clooney, spoke to students at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday, where she gave an impassioned speech about the importance of having unshakable courage in the face of adversity during these challenging times.
"Courage, as they say, is contagious. People who have the courage to change their societies—in India, in South Africa, in the United States—inspire each other and create rights for future generations," Clooney said in a video of the address posted to YouTube. "But when I look at the world today, I see that courage is needed more than ever."
The 40-year-old political activist, who was honored by the university with the 2018 Nichols Chancellor's Medal, called out the various challenges and civil rights abuses that face people all around the world.
"At a time when women all over the world face physical abuse, restrictions on their ability to work, own property, travel and even have custody over their children, we need courage," she shared. "At a time when the LGBT community and every continent struggles for equal rights, freedom from imprisonment and even death, we need courage."
Clooney shared some of her most pointed remarks -- including ones directed at President Donald Trump's administration -- while addressing the importance of a free press and the responsibility of American's to defend journalists and the First Amendment.
"At a time when more journalists are in prison around the world than in any time in the last three decades -- and even here at home, [where] the media is under attack from the White House -- we need courage," she shared. "And at a time when our politicians try to conflate the terms refugee and terrorist and make us fear one another, we need courage."
She went on to say that "character traits like persistence, ambition, inquisitiveness and grit that will determine your success," however, the thing that will define you as a person is your courage. "That is the virtue on which all others depend."
"We need young people with the courage to say this is our world now and there's going to be some changes," Clooney continued. "Be courageous. Challenge orthodoxy. Stand up for what you believe in. When you are in your rocking chair talking to your grandchildren many years from now, be sure you have a good story to tell."
"It’s character traits like persistence, ambition, inquisitiveness and grit that will determine your success. And perhaps more than anything that will define you is your courage. That is the virtue on which all others depend."--Amal Clooney #VU2018
"Be courageous. Challenge orthodoxy. Stand up for what you believe in. When you are in your rocking chair talking to your grandchildren many years for now, be sure you have a good story to tell." - -Amal Clooney #VU2018
Just a few days before delivering her emotionally potent commencement event address, she was serving as the co-chair of the star-studded Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, alongside Rihanna and Donatella Versace.