Human Rights Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Nadia Murad to Speak at Pitzer College’s 2023 Commencement Ceremony

Nadia Murad
A global voice for justice and change: 2018 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient Nadia Murad will deliver the Commencement keynote address to the Class of 2023 at Pitzer College this spring.

Claremont, Calif. (March 2, 2023)—Nadia Murad, an internationally acclaimed human rights activist and co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, will deliver the commencement address to Pitzer College’s Class of 2023 at this spring’s Commencement ceremony on May 13, 2023.

“We are deeply honored to have Nadia Murad joining us for this exciting high point of Pitzer’s academic year,” said Jill Klein, interim president of Pitzer College. “She is an inspiring and critically important global advocate against war and violence, and we are thrilled to have her participate in our celebration and share her powerful story with our graduates as they prepare to leave college and enter the world.”

Murad is the founder and president of Nadia’s Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to rebuilding communities in crisis and advocating for survivors of sexual violence. The initiative’s current work is focused on the sustainable redevelopment of the homeland of the Yazidi, an ethno-religious minority that is indigenous to northern Iraq.

Murad grew up in a small Yazidi farming village that was attacked by ISIS in 2014. She was abducted with thousands of other Yazidi women and girls and forced into sexual slavery. She escaped her captivity and relocated to Germany, where she began raising awareness about the plight of her people and the brutal treatment of women. She describes her ordeal in her New York Times best-selling memoir, The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State.

Today Murad is recognized as a leading champion of gender equality and survivors of genocide and sexual violence. In 2016, she was the first United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking and received the Council of Europe Vaclav Havel Award for Human Rights and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

In 2018, Murad was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Dr. Denis Mukwege for founding the Global Fund for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. In 2019, she was appointed as a UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) advocate.

In addition to delivering the keynote address at Pitzer’s Commencement ceremony, Murad will visit the campus during Commencement week and engage with members of the Pitzer community in a more informal setting.

“I am honored to be invited to Pitzer College to address this year’s graduates,” said Murad. “It is important for me that younger generations understand the crimes and brutality being done to the vulnerable in other parts of the world. Young people are the key to change. They can help create a future in which such violence doesn’t exist. I am aware of Pitzer’s mission to train students in social advocacy and social justice, and I am looking forward to addressing them as they think about ways to engage with a world that truly needs them.”

For more information about Pitzer’s Class of 2023 graduation ceremony, please visit the College’s Commencement page


About Nadia Murad: To learn more about Nadia Murad, Nadia’s Initiative, and The Murad Code (a global initiative aimed at building and supporting a community of better practices for survivors of systematic and conflict-related sexual violence), please visit the Nadia’s Initiative website:  

About Pitzer College: Founded in 1963, Pitzer College is a leading liberal arts and sciences college and has been consistently ranked among the nation’s top higher education institutions by The Princeton Review. The College emphasizes environmental and interdisciplinary studies, the arts, humanities, and social, behavioral, and natural sciences. With 1,200 students, Pitzer College is a member of The Claremont Colleges, a unique group in U.S. higher education that consists of five undergraduate colleges and two graduate institutions. At Pitzer, students have access to all the resources of a major university while enjoying the benefits of a small liberal arts college experience and its personalized approach to education. Learn more about Pitzer College:  

Media inquiries: Wendy Shattuck, Assistant Vice President of College Communications Pitzer College, 909.607.7728, [email protected]