2023 Commencement Speaker: Anand Giridharadas ‘99
I’m delighted to announce that this year’s Commencement speaker will be Anand Giridharadas ‘99. A journalist and author of remarkable breadth and insight, Anand has written compellingly of the pernicious effects of inequity in American society and the importance of bridging political and cultural differences.
Anand was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, just outside Cleveland. His family moved to the Washington D.C. area when he was in middle school, and he entered Sidwell Friends School in 9th grade.
“My years at Sidwell were the most important years of my education, by far,” Anand recalled recently. “Sidwell made me a writer.”
Anand attended the University of Michigan, with a junior year at Oxford. After graduation, he moved to India and eventually became a correspondent for The New York Times in Mumbai. That experience led to his first book, India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking, published in 2011.
After returning to the United States in 2009, Anand spent several years as a graduate student in the department of government at Harvard University but could not avert his eye to the absorbing narratives that shape our national story. His second book, The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, told the intersecting stories of a convicted murder and one of his surviving victims and their long road to reconciliation that took place before the killer’s execution. Anand also recounts the story in a 2015 TED Talk I highly recommend.
Anand’s next book, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World (2018) explored how some of the wealthiest in society use the guise of do-gooding to further entrench their power. His most recent book, The Persuaders: At the Front Lines of the Fight for Hearts, Minds, and Democracy (2022) tells the stories of people who are fighting to change minds and bridge divides to help preserve democracy.
In between books, Anand continues to write occasional essays for The New York Times and humor pieces for The New Yorker, which are at once biting and quite hilarious.
I want to thank Anand for agreeing to be our speaker this year and I know it his presence will add much to the day’s celebration.
Head of School
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