October 16th, 2011 | University

Zakaria ’86 to speak at Harvard commencement

FileFareed_Zakaria_on_January_28_2011
Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Political columnist and best-selling author Fareed Zakaria ’86 will serve as Commencement speaker for Harvard University’s Class of 2012, the Crimson reports.

“Fareed Zakaria is an unusually creative and incisive thinker in the realm of international affairs, and it will be a particular privilege to hear from him as Harvard looks toward the future from the vantage point of its 375th anniversary,” said Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s president, of the selection. Harvard officials revealed the Commencement speaker early in order to complement Harvard’s already ongoing birthday celebrations.

An alumnus of Berkeley College, Zakaria spent his college years actively involved with student organizations, including the Yale Political Union, the Yale Political Monthly (now The Politic) and the Yale Daily News Magazine. After graduate school, Zakaria’s career took him to foreign policy publications such as Foreign Affairs and Newsweek International. A prolific author, his insights—on foreign affairs, domestic politics and even wine—appear in national and international publications. An occasional advisor to President Obama, Zakaria currently serves as TIME Magazine’s Editor-at-Large. He also hosts Fareed Zakaria GPS, which airs weekly on CNN.

Though Zakaria received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1993, not all members of the Harvard community are happy to have a Yalie speaking at Commencement. “An obscure political commentator that did his undergrad at Yale? I don’t even want to go to commencement anymore,” wrote an online commentator identified only as “h12.” Another commentator, identified as “The_Wise,” wrote simply: “Bleh.”

Zakaria spoke at Yale last September at the dedication of the Jackson Institute on Global Affairs. Named a Successor Trustee to the Yale Corporation in 2006, Zakaria delivered the Class Day address at Yale in 2007.