Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney speaks during Senior Day activities at Vanderbilt University, May 10, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn.
Mark Humphrey/AP
Citizenship

5 Quotes From Amal Clooney's Commencement Speech That Are Giving Us Life

As an international human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney has learned a thing or two about courage. 

She’s spoken in front of the United Nations, stood up for journalists detained in Myanmar, and for the past several years has fought to take the Islamic State (ISIS) to court, alongside Nadia Murad — a Yazidi woman who survived ISIS slavery. 

Take Action: Refugee? Migrant? Human Being. Show Your Support for All People - No Matter Where They Were Born

So, given her experience, it’s not surprising that she knocked her most recent speech — on the topic of courage — out of the park. 

Speaking to students at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, Clooney delivered her first-ever commencement speech on Thursday.

In it, she implored young people to take the mantle of courage into their own lives and work by standing up for refugees, LGBTQ people, women, and all other groups that have been traditionally marginalized by society. 

Embed from Getty Images

Read More: Forget the ‘Baby Bump’ — Amal Clooney’s UN Address Was Vital & Powerful

You should really listen to the speech in its entirety , but if you’re short on time, Global Citizen is bringing you five of the most powerful quotes: 

1. “Courage, as they say, is contagious. People who have had the courage to to change their societies — in India, in South Africa, in the United States — inspire each other and create rights for future generations.”

2. “[W]hen I look at the world today I see that courage is needed more than ever. 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.” 

Embed from Getty Images

3. “[A]t a time when our politicians try to conflate the terms refugee and terrorist and make us fear one another, we need courage.” 

4. “We need young people with the courage to say, ‘This is our world now, and there are going to be some changes.’”

5. “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."