Home inContext ahmadinejad@columbia.edu


Jonathan Schanzer

The Chronicle of Higher Education provides post-game analysis of “the most-discussed university lecture of the decade,” featuring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Here’s a bit:

Columbia President Lee Bollinger… opened the forum with a long interrogation of the Iranian leader’s human-rights record. “I doubt that you will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions,” Bollinger said, “but your avoiding them will in itself be meaningful to us.”

“I do expect you to exhibit the fanatical mind-set that characterizes so much of what you say and do,” Bollinger continued. “Fortunately, I am told by experts on your country that this only further undermines your position in Iran. In his response, Ahmadinejad suggested that Bollinger violated the rules of hospitality.

Bollinger may have talked tough, but allowing Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia is a black eye for him and the university.