The Jackson School of Global Affairs officially welcomed its new class of graduate students to Yale on Tuesday, August 29, during the Matriculation Ceremony in Horchow Hall.

The incoming class of 39 students includes 34 students in the two-year Master in Public Policy in Global Affairs program and five students in the Master of Advanced Studies in Global Affairs program. There are also three students enrolled in the five-year BA/MPP degree program for Yale College students. Of the 34 MPP students, three are pursuing joint degrees with Yale Law School and two are pursuing a joint degree with the Yale School of Management.

The diverse group of students represents nearly 20 countries — 53% of the class is made up of international students. Collectively, they speak 26 languages, including Japanese, Turkish, and Bulgarian. Students of color from the U.S. make up 38% of the class. The average amount of work experience of the class is five years.

In his remarks, Jim Levinsohn, dean of the Jackson School and Charles W. Goodyear Professor of Global Affairs, seized upon the wide range of cultures and experiences the class offers to urge the students to build meaningful relationships that will enrich them long after they’ve left Yale.

“The experiences you bring to our community are stunning,” said Levinsohn. “Learn from each other because you have so much to offer one another. You will have lots of demands on your time, but I hope you take some of that time to build relationships. That is what’s going to matter and that will be the lasting impact this school has on you.”

Levinsohn also implored the students to take advantage of all that Yale has to offer, particularly taking courses at Yale’s other graduate and professional schools and engaging with the world-class scholars at Jackson.

“You not only get the chance to learn from the best of academia, but you can put what you learn into practice with those who are applying those principles to work on the ground,” said Levinsohn.

David Simon, senior lecturer and assistant dean for graduate education at the Jackson School, reminded the students of the school’s nascence and the continued work of forming a culture and a community.

“For me, as much as the teaching and practice is important,” said Simon, “the opportunity to build upon a community is an opportunity I relish — and I hope you all do, as well.”

Maytal Saltiel, interim university chaplain at Yale, delivered the benediction, reading from Irish poet John O’Donohue’s “For a New Beginning:

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

The ceremony was followed by a celebratory lunch on the lawn outside of Horchow Hall.