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Fatima Yousufi Named as Fowler School of Law Commencement Speaker The Keynote Speaker at Chapman University’s Law School Ceremony will Highlight the Power of Lawyers in Upholding Democracy.

Fatima Yousufi, activist and esteemed starting goalkeeper for the Afghan Women’s National Soccer Team, will serve as the keynote speaker for Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law Commencement ceremony May 19 at 10 a.m. 

The event marks a significant moment for the graduating students who will have the privilege of hearing from an inspiring individual who has triumphed against adversity. Yousufi’s speech will be livestreamed

Democracy allowed Yousufi to become an elite athlete in a country that has long denied women such opportunities. When the Taliban overpowered Afghanistan in August of 2021, Yousufi, a prominent national figure, had to flee the country along with several family members and teammates to secure their safety and freedom. During her perilous journey to find refuge, lawyers from around the world helped her escape to safety in Australia, where she now lives and continues to play soccer. 

At the Fowler School of Law Commencement ceremony, Yousufi will share her incredible story, shedding light on the lawyers who played a role in her escape. Yousufi’s first-hand experience of escaping the collapse of her homeland and finding a new life in a new country will provide a unique perspective on the vital work carried out by lawyers worldwide. 

“Fati Yousufi, has an inspiring message for today’s new lawyers: You are the keepers of democracy and the rule of law,” shares Marisa S. Cianciarulo interim dean. “Fati was able to thrive as an elite athlete in a country governed by the rule of law; when the government collapsed, lawyers around the world helped her and her family and teammates find safety in Australia. We are honored to have Fati Yousufi as our 2023 commencement speaker.”

The Fowler School of Law at Chapman University is dedicated to educating and empowering the future legal professionals to become advocates for justice, equality, and the preservation of fundamental rights. Earlier this month, U.S. News & World Report announced Fowler School of Law’s climb toward the nation’s top 100 law schools, rising from No. 118 to No. 109 in the Best Law Schools rankings. The school also is ranked No. 68 in trial advocacy.  

About Chapman University

Founded in 1861, Chapman University is a nationally ranked private university located in Southern California. Chapman is categorized by the Carnegie Classification as an R2 “high research activity” institution and offers personalized education to more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The campus has produced a Rhodes Scholar, been named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars, and hosts a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society. Based in the city of Orange, Chapman also includes the Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine. In 2019, the university opened its 11th college, Fowler School of Engineering, in its newest facility, Keck Center for Science and Engineering. Learn more about Chapman University:



Carly Murphy

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