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On April 2, Farah Pandith ’86 spent the day with our K–12 community as part of the 2024 DEIJ Speaker Series. Pandith is an author, foreign policy strategist, and former diplomat. As a world-leading expert and pioneer in countering violent extremism, she is a frequent media commentator, and we were thrilled to welcome her back to Centre Street to share her insight and expertise with students.

Classes she took as a Milton student sparked her interest in world issues and ultimately led to her career in foreign policy, she shared during a “Fireside Chat” moderated by student leaders in the Upper and Middle Schools. “Seeds that are planted when you are very young help you to think about the world in a different way,” said Pandith as she reflected on learning about ancient Egyptian history as a fourth-grader at Milton.

Throughout the assembly, Pandith spoke about the importance of diplomacy, self-advocacy, public speaking, digital hygiene, the “us vs. them” ideology, knowing where you get your facts from, the difference between facts and opinions, and more. She shared, “If you leave today with nothing else, the bottom line is that you should never want to be duped. You should never let anybody tell you what to think and who you are.”

Young people and their voices are prominent and vital in the world around them, Pandith said. “It doesn’t matter what you do. What matters is that you take a step in the right direction to try to expand your knowledge base and find ways to build a bridge.”

Milton students grow by developing their own identities, learning from the experiences of others, and living and working among peers whose differences are welcomed with respect and care. “I will tell you one thing, having gone to Milton, K–12, I never felt like I didn’t belong. Ever. I was always treated with kindness. I was always treated with respect and love,” said Pandith.

“This is really critical on the Milton side. I think one of the things that Milton teaches you is how to be confident about diversity and how to understand how there are many different kinds of opinions,” shared Pandith. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) are fundamental to a strong community and the fulfillment of Milton Academy’s educational mission. Milton is proud to present the DEIJ Speaker Series as one of many opportunities for Milton Academy students, families, and employees to collaborate to create an inspiring and inclusive learning environment. Past DEIJ alumni speakers have included Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer ’87 and Grace Chan McKibben ’86. Llew Smith ’72 will be the next speaker in the 2024 series on April 23. To learn more about diversity at Milton, please visit

Read more about Farah Pandith ’86 in the Spring 2023 edition of Milton Magazine:Soft Power: A Defense Against Extremism.”