Celebration 2021


Elliott School of International Affairs
Virtual Graduation Celebration

May 14, 2021
4:00 pm EDT Undergraduate Celebration
6:00 pm EDT Graduate Celebration


Congratulations to the Elliott School Class of 2021! Visit the undergraduate and graduate pages for details about the Spring 2021 graduation celebrations.


Commencement on the National Mall

October 2, 2021 at 11 a.m. EDT


GW is pleased to invite the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 graduates and their families to the National Mall for a truly special event. Visit the GW Commencement website for details on speakers, scheduling and registration.


NOTE: The deadline to register for Commencement is August 31, 2021.


Celebration Details







Headshot of Alyssa Ayres, Elliott School Dean


A Message from the Dean

To the 2021 Graduates of GW’S Elliott School of International Affairs,


On behalf of the Elliott School’s faculty, staff, and alumni, it gives me great pride to congratulate the class of 2021 on the completion of your degrees. You are the very first class of students I have the privilege of congratulating as you step into the world ahead of you. In any ordinary year, graduation and commencement exercises mark a crossing of a threshold, a moment when your preparation comes to a close and you move into your next phase. But nothing about this past year has been ordinary. 

While you will all still begin your own career journeys in the months ahead, our collective experience—at the Elliott School, here in the United States, and indeed around the world—of living through more than a year of a pandemic makes this graduation even more precious. For one, all of you have risen to the many challenges this year has put before you. The resilience you have demonstrated will serve you well on your path ahead. 

This past year’s experience has also offered us another lesson, about the deep interconnections that bind us together in the world. While your studies at the Elliott School advanced your knowledge about international affairs, at the same time we have all—around the world—come to understand how interrelated our health, our economic resilience, our trade and supply chains, our digital economies, and ultimately our national security truly is. 

This realization means that you graduate equipped with an understanding of international affairs at precisely the moment that knowledge is more needed than ever before. You have all overcome a once in a century pandemic to get here, and you will head out into the world shaped by that shared experience. 

As you step into the Elliott School’s alumni community family, a network of more than 26,000 graduates, you have the world ahead of you, and opportunities to pursue your passions in the fields of your choice. The Elliott School’s faculty and staff, and all your advisors who helped you contemplate your road ahead, all wish you the best of luck. 

So Raise High, Elliott School graduates of 2021! You are the next generation of international leaders, and we look forward to how you will shape the world in the years ahead.



Alyssa Ayres
Dean, Elliott School of International Affairs
The George Washington University

Keynote Speaker

Headshot of Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins



Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins

Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins is the Founder and Executive Director of WCAPS—Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security. It all began in 2017, when Jenkins started an organization of women of color working in peace and security who felt isolated and felt their voices were not being heard. Jenkins wanted to encourage and actively develop leadership and a network of women in areas that affect them most globally: Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation. Four years later, in January 2021, Jenkins and WCAPS were named as the 2020 Arms Control Association’s Persons of the Year. She is also the founder of Organizations in Solidarity, which seeks to combat racism and discrimination in all of its manifestations as individuals and in organizations, and in so doing diversify the fields of peace and security, foreign policy, and national security, making such work more inclusive and equitable.

Learn more about Amb. Bonnie Jenkins






This year GW is celebrating more than 300 students who are the first in their family to graduate from college. Congratulations to all the first-generation graduates in the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences. 



Read more on GW Today


#ElliottGraduation text over an image of the Elliott School building


Show us how you're celebrating graduation by tagging the Elliott School on Instagram, Twitter and  Facebook and using the hashtag #ElliottGraduation in your posts!







Mandatory Graduation Surveys

Required for all graduating students, these surveys are designed to help GW and Elliott learn more about the experiences and future plans of our students.






Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, just apply for summer graduation in GWeb by March 25, after you register for summer courses, to ensure you are included in the commencement program.

Yes, all Fall 2020 graduates are eligible to participate and will be included in communications.

You can still apply for graduation by submitting the Late (Paper) Graduation Application, to your academic advisor, but inclusion in the celebration program and virtual ceremony cannot be guaranteed due to publishing deadlines.

You will not receive an e-mail confirmation that your graduation application has been submitted. You can check DegreeMAP to confirm that the application is on file.

If an application is on file for you, then you will see the words "Sought-Applied to Graduate" or "Applied Late Degree Clearance" in the "Graduation Application" field on your DegreeMAP audit. This is located near the top, in the same section as your name, GWID, Major, etc.

Cords are handled by each organization. If you are involved in a group that you know or think might provide cords or stoles for graduation, we encourage you to contact that organization. If you are an Elliott School Dean's Scholar, you will be contacted about graduation cords for that program. Otherwise, there are no cords associated with Elliott School degree programs and Elliott does not provide cords or stoles for Latin Honors.

There are two Elliott School ceremonies on May 14 (one for graduate students and one for undergraduate studentsAND a GW-wide commencement ceremony on May 16 at 1:00 pm EDT. You can attend/watch them all and the content will be different at each event! At the Elliott School ceremonies, each graduating student will be recognized individually.

If you're outside the U.S. and unable to view the video stream, an alternate link to watch the celebration will be available on the undergraduate page starting May 14 at 4:00 pm EDT and the graduate page starting May 14 at 6:00 pm EDT.


GW Alma Mater

Hail Alma Mater
To thy spirit guiding,
Knowledge thy closest friend
In its strength abiding,
Pledge we fidelity
Ne'er its place resigning,
Hail thee George Washington!

Celebrate step and repeat banner in gold text