Merkel tells Harvard grads to tear down 'walls of ignorance'

Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, left, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, and historian Lonnie Bunch III, right, prepare to join a procession though Harvard Yard at the start of Harvard University commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers the commencement address during Harvard University commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, on the school's campus, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, center left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center right, speak while others take their seats for a photograph before joining a procession though Harvard Yard at the start of Harvard University commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, on the schools campus, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak while sitting for a photograph before joining a procession though Harvard Yard at the start of Harvard University commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, places her hands together as she receives applause while being presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree as former Harvard President Drew Faust, left, and Harvard Provost Alan Garber, right, look on during Harvard University commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, on the schools campus, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel waves after delivering the commencement address during Harvard University commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, on the school's campus, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers the commencement address during Harvard University commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, on the school's campus, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets graduating Harvard students as she walks in a procession though Harvard Yard at the start of Harvard University commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel shakes hands with Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow, right, after delivering the commencement address during commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, on the school's campus, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, waves as she is presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree as former Harvard President Drew Faust, left, and Harvard Provost Alan Garber, right, applaud during Harvard University commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, on the schools campus, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets graduating Harvard students as she walks in a procession though Harvard Yard at the start of Harvard University commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Former Harvard President Drew Faust, center, waves to the audience as author and editor of The New Yorker magazine David Remnick, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, applaud during Harvard University commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, on the school's campus, in Cambridge, Mass. Faust was presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the ceremonies. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Historian Lonnie Bunch III, left, is presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Vice President and Secretary of Harvard University Marc Goodheart, right, during Harvard University commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, on the school campus, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel waves after delivering the commencement address during Harvard University commencement exercises, Thursday, May 30, 2019, on the school's campus, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN'-geh-lah MEHR'-kuhl) says a new generation of leaders must "tear down walls of ignorance" and reject isolationism to overcome global problems such as terrorism and climate change.

Merkel made the comments Thursday while delivering the keynote speech at Harvard University's 368th commencement ceremony.

Her speech warned against the dangers of nationalism and echoed her past criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump without directly naming him. She told graduates that "if we want to go it alone, we could not achieve much."

The 64-year-old chancellor described growing up behind the Berlin Wall in East Germany and says today there's a threat from "walls of ignorance and narrowmindedness."

Merkel was elected to lead Germany in 2005 and is serving her fourth term, which she has said will be her last.

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