CDDRL director Larry Diamond to deliver 2012 Stanford class day lecture


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Larry Diamond teaches a back to school class, "Will Democracy Come to the Arab World?" during Parents’ Weekend in February 2012.
Photo credit: 
L.A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

The graduating class at Stanford University has selected Larry Diamond, director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, as the 2012 Class Day speaker. A four-decade long tradition, the class day lecture is delivered by a well-liked Stanford faculty member who addresses the graduating class together with their friends and family, one last time. The class day lecture will be held on Saturday, June 16.

Diamond's class day speech entitled, "Why the Wind of Freedom Blows," provides a sweeping account of the global struggle for freedom from its roots in the Reformation period to present day. Diamond's speech pays homage to Stanford's motto "The wind of freedom blows," coined by founding President David Starr Jordan in tribute of the 16th century German humanist Ulrich von Hutten who embodied the essence of modern democracy. Invoking the powerful theme of the universality of democracy, Diamond will inspire a new generation of Stanford graduates to uphold these principles and leave the university in pursuit of greater service to humanity.

Diamond, a Stanford graduate (74', 78', 80') teaches courses on comparative democratic development and post-conflict democracy building, and has served as a devoted advisor and mentor to generations of Stanford students since beginning his teaching career at Stanford in 1985. He was recognized in 2007 with a Teacher of the Year award for "teaching that transcends political and ideological barriers" by the Associated Students of Stanford University and the University's Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contributions to Undergraduate Education.

As the Peter E. Haas Faculty Co-Director at the Stanford Haas Center for Public Service, Diamond has played an integral role fostering greater public service and leadership among the undergraduate community. At CDDRL, Diamond advises students through the Undergraduate Senior Honors Program and provides institutional support to Stanford student groups for their activities and planning efforts.

Diamond joins a distinguished group of previous class day speakers who have included; Rob Reich, associate professor of political science, faculty director of the Program in Ethics in Society and co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, who delivered the 2011 class day lecture on the promise and peril of the new social economy. In 2010, Debra Satz, professor of philosophy, the Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society and director of the Bowen H. McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, addressed the graduating class on the moral limits of world markets and the fundamental problems that drive them.

Diamond is the founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy and also serves as senior consultant (and previously co-director) at the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy. Diamond served as a consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development and was a contributing author of its report Foreign Aid in the National Interest. He has also advised and lectured to the World Bank, the United Nations, the State Department, and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies dealing with governance and development. His latest book, The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World (Times Books, 2008), explores the sources of global democratic progress and the prospects for future democratic expansion.

The Class Day Lecture is a non-ticketed event that will be held in Maples Pavilion on June 16 at 11:30am and is free for all graduating seniors, advance degree candidates and their guests. For more information please click here.