The human rights lawyer got a standing ovation after delivering a powerful speech at a US university.

Last week was a big one for Amal Clooney, who co-hosted the prestigious Met Gala alongside Donatella Versace and Rihanna.

However that wasn’t the only worthy appointment the Beirut-born barrister had her diary.

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In fact, the 40-year-old human rights lawyer dedicated her time to inspiring the younger generation on Thursday, delivering a rousing speech to a crowd of graduates.


Clooney gave the Senior Day address to students at Vanderbilt University, a private research institution located in Nashville, Tennessee.

During her speech, the mother of two touched on her own rise to success, telling a packed auditorium that she had given up a US$200,000 a year post as a corporate lawyer to become a US$20,000-a-year judicial clerk at The Hague, which put her on her current career path.

“My advice isn’t that you have to be Gandhi or Mandela or Martin Luther King or that you should be a human rights activist or get jobs where the salary decreases at every turn,” she said, according to the university’s website.

“There will be moments in your life where two roads diverge in the wood, and when that happens, be courageous.”

In fact, Clooney added, such bravery trumps a privileged education, citing some of her past clients and their fearless battles for justice.

“It’s character traits like persistence, ambition, inquisitiveness and grit that will determine your success,” the lawyer said.

“And perhaps more than anything that will define you is your courage. That is the virtue on which all others depend.”

Clooney, who wed Hollywood actor and producer George in 2014, counts WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the King of Bahrain and Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister of Ukraine, among her clients.


She urged the Vanderbilt graduates to “challenge orthodoxy” and “stand up for what you believe in”, adding: “When you are in your rocking chair talking to your grandchildren many years from now, be sure you have a good story to tell.

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 “We need young people with the courage to say, ‘This is our world now, and there are going to be some changes.’

“My generation is counting on you.-