Angela Merkel Named Harvard Commencement Speaker
In a surprise early announcement, Harvard has named Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany since 2005, its speaker for the 368th Commencement ceremonies, taking place on May 30, 2019. “Angela Merkel is one of the most widely admired and broadly influential statespeople of our time,” said Harvard president Lawrence S. Bacow. “Over her four terms as Germany’s chancellor, her leadership has done much to shape the course not only of her nation, but also of Europe and the larger world. She continues to play a central role in confronting some of the great challenges of our era, and I very much look forward to welcoming her to Harvard next May and to hearing what is sure to be a memorable address.”
Merkel has been called the de facto leader of the European Union. She entered politics after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and became a protégée of the late Helmut Kohl, LL.D. ’90, who served as chancellor from 1982 to 1998. She has led the Christian Democratic Union party since 2000, a role from which she is stepping down, and she recently announced that she will not seek reelection to the chancellorship when her term ends in 2021.