Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng: Distinguished Peace Innovator, Educator, and Author, Announced as 2021 Commencement Speaker

Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng Headshot

ATHERTON, Calif. (Feb. 23, 2021) – Menlo College is pleased to announce Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng as the speaker for the College’s 93rd commencement ceremony, to be held on Saturday, May 15, 2021. 

Dr. Soetoro-Ng is the co-founder of Ceeds of Peace, which creates peacebuilding action plan workshops for educators, families, and community leaders; The Institute for Climate and Peace, which promotes effective and inclusive processes to build peaceful and climate-conscious futures for all; and the Peace Studio, which trains content creators in peace building. She also serves as an advisor to the Obama Foundation and works closely with their international team to develop programs in the Asia Pacific region. As well, Dr. Soetoro-Ng is the Faculty Specialist for the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. 

“We are privileged to have Dr. Soetoro-Ng as our 2021 commencement speaker,” said Menlo College President Steven Weiner. “As a worldly, future-oriented peace advocate, her commencement address will be particularly welcomed during these challenging times to inspire our students. Her experience and leadership values align well with Menlo’s educational vision of its graduates making meaningful contributions to the world.”

With a master’s degree from NYU’s College of Education, Maya Soetoro-Ng went on to obtain a PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Hawaiʻi. For many years, she has worked as a professor and educator in the areas of multicultural education, social studies methods, and peace education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Dr. Soetoro-Ng has extensive teaching expertise in numerous courses, including Leadership for Social Change, History of Peace Movements, Peace Education, and Conflict Management for Educators.  Her endorsement appears on the jacket cover of the new book “America’s Peacemakers” authored by Menlo College Provost Grande Lum. Provost Lum observed, “Dr. Soetoro-Ng’s commitment to developing tomorrow’s leaders will undoubtedly further strengthen the resolve in our ambitious students to drive positive change in their organizations and communities.” 

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to speak to the next generation of professionals and leaders who are concluding their studies at Menlo College. At a time when there is so much conflict, I hope to show students that there is hope and endless possibility for turning ideas into pathways for peace. More than anything, I’m excited to help celebrate all of the amazing accomplishments of this year’s diverse and persevering graduating class,” said Dr. Soetoro-Ng.

Dr. Soetoro-Ng is also the author of the children’s book Ladder to the Moon, a story inspired by her and former President Barack Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham. Her Young Adult novel entitled Yellowwood will be published next year.

About Menlo College

Menlo College was established in 1927. It is a small, private, non-profit, four-year, accredited, residential college located in Atherton, California. Menlo College’s location in Silicon Valley, one of the world’s most entrepreneurial and innovative geographical areas, has enabled the college to create a valuable market niche for its students locally — as well as globally. Menlo College cultivates in its students the skills, integrity, and passion to make meaningful contributions in an innovation economy.