Ukrainian President Zelenskyy makes surprise commencement speech to Johns Hopkins University grads

In an surprise move, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a virtual appearance as the commencement speaker for the class of 2023 at Johns Hopkins University. Addressing the graduating class via livestream from Ukraine, Zelenskyy's speech on Thursday was presented at the university's Baltimore campus. The university also awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Focusing on the significance of time, freedom, self-determination, and democracy, Zelenskyy conveyed his gratitude to the United States and the Biden administration for their unwavering support for Ukraine amid the conflict with Russia.


"I'm proud that Ukraine is not losing a single day in its defense against Russian terror. Every day we do everything, everything to become stronger, to give more protection to people, to save more lives," Zelenskyy said. "The United States has also not lost a single day in helping Ukraine repel the Russian aggression."

Drawing parallels between the graduates and those fighting in Ukraine, he discussed the common hopes they share for their futures, "They and you have similar hopes for life, similar expectations from life."

"Every person eventually realizes that time is the most valuable resource on the planet, not oil or uranium, not lithium or anything else, but time," Zelenskyy said. "The very flow of time convinces us of this. Some people realize this sooner, and these are the lucky ones."

The address marked Zelenskyy's first speech at a U.S. college campus since his talk at Stanford University in May 2022, three months following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.