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Watch: Actor Kumail Nanjiani’s commencement advice to seek diversity is both poignant and funny

  • Hannah Yi
By Hannah Yi

Video Journalist

This article is more than 2 years old.

Twenty years ago, comedian Kumail Nanjiani boarded a plane in Pakistan and headed for Grinnell, Iowa to attend Grinnell College. On May 22, he returned to his alma mater to address the graduating class of 2017.

College life turned out to be much more diverse than life back at home. He met people who were “white, black, queer, gender fluid, every religion, no religion” and, of course, girls.

“I shook hands with a girl for the first time at a party,” he said. “I remember saying out loud to myself, ‘This is a great country.'”

Nanjiani implored graduates to seek out opinions and ideas that aren’t familiar.

“Populate your life with people different from you. Once you leave school you get to choose the kinds of people you’re going to be around rather than forced to be around them.”

Watch the video above to hear Nanjiani’s poignant and funny advice about diversity.

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