New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern honors former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaheed Benazir while delivering the Commencement address at Harvard.
Harvard University honored Ardern to address the students from the same stage offered to greats such as Winston Churchill, Angela Merkel, Steven Spielberg, and once, Benazir Bhutto.
Addressing more than 1000 Harvard students, Jacinda Ardern invoked the memory of the late Benazir Bhutto, the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim country and to give birth while in office with Ardern being the second.
“Two things that history will not contest about Benazir Bhutto. She was the first Muslim female Prime Minister elected in an Islamic country, when a woman in power was a rare thing. She was also the first to give birth in office,” Jacinda said.
Moreover, Jacinda Ardern also echoed Benazir Bhutto’s call to deepen democracy. To clarify, Benazir Bhutto underscored the “fragility” of democracy in her own address to the university in 1989.
“The path she carved as a woman feels as relevant today as it was decades ago, and so too is the message she shared in this place,” Jacinda Ardern said.
watched @jacindaardern’s harvard commencement address today which included a lengthy shoutout to benazir bhutto (whom she met in 2007), & while acknowledging different perspectives on her political legacies, crediting her for carving a path for women & mothers in intl politics pic.twitter.com/f6xl5xdxml
— Amna Qayyum (@aqayyum_) May 26, 2022
Jacinda Ardern talks about gun control
Apart from democracy, Jacinda Ardern also talked about the importance of gun control. In fact, she won standing ovations for her government’s gun control laws, diversity, and decriminalization of abortion.
Lately, the US political turmoil centers around the non-existent gun laws and the lack of abortion rights. However, the recent Texas school shooting has once again paralyzed the US as it remains undecided on how to end gun violence.
To clarify, on Tuesday afternoon, a teenager, armed with two assault rifles, opened fire on children and teachers in Uvalde, Texas – making it the deadliest assault at an American school in a decade. Important to note that this is not the first time the US has witnessed such horrific incidents of gun violence. However, it still fails to implement effective gun laws.
On the other hand, New Zealand faced one incident i.e the Christchurch mosque attack, yet it immediately brought gun reforms.
“In the aftermath of New Zealand’s experience, we felt a sense of responsibility. We knew we needed significant gun reform, and so that is what we did,” Jacinda Ardern said.