Sunday 19 June 2022

2020 - 2022 Graduation Ceremony

Two years later, we had our in-person commencement ceremony at Stanford University and Stanford University Graduate School of Business (GSB)! #ClassOf2020 #GSBGrads

For this long-awaited milestone, I wanted to honor and celebrate my heritage and roots. So I worked with Reema Dahbour, a Palestinian-Jordanian-American designer to create an outfit that symbolizes my love and belonging for Jordan, Palestine, my Arab and Muslim identity.

I wanted to celebrate my late Palestinian grandmother, Hadba, who I have talked about in my TALK at Stanford (TALK is a hallmark tradition of the Stanford GSB experience in which students share their life stories with classmates in a vulnerable, intimate, and supportive setting). I grew up admiring the beauty and elegance of the traditional Palestinian embroidery (tatreez) dresses my grandmother always wore; she used to do tatreez herself too. I only have a piece of my grandma's embroidery -- a flowery chest panel from one of her dresses. My mom and I asked Reema to recreate my grandma's flower, in Stanford colors, and it became the main inspiration for the tatreez dress I wore. We filled the sleeves and the rest of the dress with motifs from Al-Khalil (Hebron), the city I am originally from. The embroidery (tatreez) was handmade to the last cross-stitch by Palestinian refugee women in my hometown of Amman, Jordan.

I also wanted to celebrate my Arab/Muslim identity and love for Arabic calligraphy, while expressing gratitude to my family members. For that, I worked with Reema to embroider the initials of my grandparents from both sides, my parents, and my 4 siblings -- all in elegant Arabic calligraphy on the Stanford Stole of Gratitude that I wore around my neck during the celebration. Mousa, Hadba, Yusri, Jamila, Hasan, Khawla, Nadeen, Deema, Ahmad, Hamza: I love you, thank you for everything.

And lastly, I wanted to celebrate my Palestinian grandfather, Mousa, who was killed in Palestine in 1968. We don't know where my grandfather was buried and we never got his body back. And so, I asked that my full Arabic name be read at the diploma awarding ceremony: Diana Hasan Mousa Nassar. Jiddo, I wish with all my heart that I could have met you or known where your body ended up; but today I want you to know: Your name was read out loud at America's top university. I love you, rest in peace and power.

(Btw, Yusri and Jamila -- my maternal grandparents, I am learning Turkish to honor your memory. You're always in my heart :)).

Friends and family, this is dedicated to you! I could have not done it without your love and support. Thank you, shukran. <3


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