Award winning Nigerian author and feminist icon Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been selected to address the Harvard class of 2018, as part of the annual class day celebration on 23 May. The speaker selection committee announced Thursday 17 May that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will address the college’s class of 2018 at Class Day, one day before the Harvard’s 367th Commencement ceremony.
Adichie has published several critically acclaimed novels and short-stories including “Purple Hibiscus,” “Half of a Yellow Sun,” and “Americanah”. She has delivered two landmark TED talks: “The Danger of a Single Story” in 2009, and her 2012 TEDxEuston talk “We Should All Be Feminists,” which kickstarted a worldwide conversation about feminism, was included in Beyoncé’s “Flawless” in 2013 and published as a book in 2014.
Berkeley E. Brown ’18, first marshal of the Senior Class Committee, said the speaker selection committee was grateful to have Adichie as their Class Day speaker in an interview with the University-run Harvard Gazette.
“We are honored to welcome Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as our Class Day speaker,” Brown said. “Her eloquence and perspective as a writer and public speaker have inspired audiences to look beyond stereotypes and social norms to recognize our common humanity.”
The Senior Class Committee has invited a guest speaker every year since 1968. Adichie is no stranger to Harvard, having completed a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Ms. Adichie joins the ranks of speakers who have spoken at the Harvard class day from various fields including politics, social activism, journalism, film, comedy, most notably, Coretta Scott King, who delivered the speech on behalf of Martin Luther King Jr. had accepted the invitation to speak, shortly before his assassination.
Her work has been published in the New Yorker, Granta, the O. Henry Prize Stories, and the Financial Times, and translated into more than 30 languages. Adichie’s novel, “Americanah,” was named one of the New York Times Top Ten Best Books of 2013.
“In her captivating TED talks, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie urges us to better understand one another’s stories and to plan for ‘a world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves,’” said Jerry Nelluvelil, co-chair of the speaker selection committee. “This is a powerful message for our class to hear as we reflect on our time at Harvard and prepare to write the next chapter of our stories.”