Grace Hightower De Niro, philanthropist and founder of Coffee of Grace, delivered a speech on global citizenship during the Léman Manhattan Preparatory School graduation at Broad Street Ballroom earlier this month.

Hightower De Niro started Coffee of Grace in 2012 and works with impoverished communities in Rwanda by providing market access and trade support in order to produce a selection of fair-trade coffees.

She was joined at the event by her actor husband and company investor, Robert De Niro.

During the ceremony, she described the project as “earning her global citizenship”. She asked the students how they planned to earn theirs and shared five of her top tips for achieving this goal:

  1. There’s no hurry.  It’s not an accomplishment so much as a process.  Live like a global citizen, and you’ll become one.
  2. Forget about borders. Be open to the people and opportunities wherever they are.
  3. Keep learning. “Duh.”
  4. You might have to fight for it.
  5. Keep the lessons learned here at Léman with you. You are prepared for whatever the changing world will bring. You will be the global citizens we all need.

Prior to the ceremony, students took to the streets of the Financial District and as part of a longstanding Léman tradition, posed for photos in front of the Federal Hall National Memorial.

Photography by Andrew Werner

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