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This year, Yale’s Class Day finished with a poem by Sudanese slam poet Emtithal Mahmoud. The graduating student, whose family fled to the US from Darfur when she was a child, started writing slam poetry at Yale, and represented the school in national competitions. Last November, she won first place in the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship, a global contest run out of Washington DC.

Many of her poems deal with war, death and desertion, but as you can see in the video above, when she stood at the podium in front of Yale’s graduating class she spoke with optimism about “a world ready to receive us, like a door that only opens.”