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Charge to Raghu Karnad

Honorary Degree Citation

I am pleased to introduce you to Raghu Karnad, who was chosen by his classmates, as the senior class speaker.

Concluding an outstanding undergraduate academic career, Raghu graduates today with High Honors, a major in Political Science and a minor inBiology.

Raghu came to Swarthmore directly from Bangalore, India, and has fully and passionately engaged the life and mission of this College.

Reminiscing on his four years here, Raghu cited research on the bone structure of turtle scales, seminar discussions on Aristotle and Nietszche, and independent research on Heidegger, prompted by an unexpected question on his Honors written exam, as elating and transformative moments of intellectual and personal growth.

A semester at the American University of Cairo allowed further study of Middle Eastern politics and Islam; adding Arabic, to his already fluent command of Hindi, Kannada and English; and a trip to Ramallah, where he gracefully manoeuvered a meeting with Yassar Arafat.

Summer trips home offered Raghu the chance to cover local police actions for Hindu, the highly regarded southern Indian newspaper; to work on women's and adolescent health issues at an NGO in Bangalore; and to organize an important film festival there, in, as he put it, 'flagrant' opposition to government censorship of documentary films.

At Swarthmore Raghu's dedication to a more just and peaceful world has been reflected in the effort of our South Asian Student Organization to counter the growing influence of Hindu nationalist organizations on American campuses, and in his role in organizing and hosting here the largest and most highly regarded symposium on Kashmir, ever held at an American college.

For the past three years Raghu has also lent his talents to addressing this community's software, hardware, and web-maintenance problems; and, for four years, he has been an avid member of our men's volleyball team.

Raghu plans to return to India after graduation to define the next steps of his career. At this point, economic development, and food and health policy, are particularly appealing; but we know that wherever Raghu chooses to make his mark, it will be a mark of special significance.

His intellectual seriousness and passion, his profound concern for the good, his community and global reach, and his personal sincerity and warmth, make us exceptionally proud that Raghu will very soon be a Swarthmore graduate, and that he will represent this College to the world.

I am delighted to welcome Raghu Karnad to the podium as the speaker for the Class of 2005. Raghu!