Carla Dirlikov Canales Keynote Speaker at the Commencement Ceremony of the Class of 2024

We are excited to share that internationally renowned classical singer, Carla Dirlikov Canales, will serve as the Class of 2024 Commencement Speaker. While the many accomplishments of Ms. Dirlikov Canales speak for themselves, an unmet aspiration has always been to in some way contribute to Bulgaria, the birthplace of her father. 

Carla Dirlikov Canales has won acclaim on leading stages around the world as a performer while also being recognized as an academic, advocate, and entrepreneur. Carla currently serves the Biden Administration in a newly created role as Senior Advisor and Envoy for Cultural Exchange at the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. In addition, Carla teaches at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and she is also a Visiting Professor at the Korbel School of International Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Carla has served as a U.S. State Department Arts Envoy since 2005.

Carla has been a member of the Presidents Committee on the Arts and Humanities Turnaround Arts Program, was selected by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of its 100 Leading Global Thinkers and won the Medal of Excellence from the Sphinx Organization, which was presented to her at the Supreme Court by Justice Sotomayor. Carla was also named one of Musical Americas 30 Movers and Shapers of 2018. In each case, she was the first opera singer ever to receive the honor.

As a classical singer, Carla has been in demand for her portrayal of Bizets Carmen, a role she has performed over eighty times in twelve countries. Carla is the founder of The Canales Project, a non-profit arts and advocacy organization through which she created Hear Her Song, a musical celebration of distinguished female leaders. Carla has been a guest speaker/lecturer at the United Nations, the White House, Oxford University, Aspen Institute, and TED and has been a guest writer for the New York Times. She is fluent in Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English and is currently studying Mandarin.