Garry Kasparov Urges Grads to Hold Values That Made America a 'Shining Example' to the World

May 19, 2015

Garry Kasparov, known for his world-class chess skills, delivered the commencement speech for Saint Louis University.

Kasparov is not as famous for his commitment to social justice as a leader of the Russian pro-democracy movement. Having lived during the communist rule of the USSR, Kasparov is an outspoken critic of the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin. Kasparov has also started a human rights foundation to protect human rights and individual freedoms around the world.

Kasparov started his speech talking about growing up during the totalitarian reign of the Soviet Union. He likened to it to be the only kid on the block who did not have TV or the Internet and being told how fortunate they are to not have it.

Kasparov retired from chess ten years ago to join the pro-democracy movement in Russia. He said that in today’s globally connected world that it is a challenge to fight for our and that it is easy to trade them for comfort and temporary security. Kasparov said that it was not an accident that American values created the greatest democracy and the greatest economy in the free world.

Kasparov urged graduates to fight for America to be a "City on a Hill," a phrase that was often used by Ronald Reagan.

"I saw that America from the other side of the Iron Curtain and I can tell you that it matters. It matters still," Kasparov said.