News Release: Ahmadinejad at Columbia University

Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak at Columbia University tomorrow and there are already news trucks lined up on Broadway. Protesters are getting ready for a rally, and there are pictures of hangings and people who have been lashed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. President Bollinger states:

“On Monday, September 24, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is scheduled to appear as a speaker on campus. The event is sponsored by the School of International and Public Affairs (see SIPA announcement), which has been in contact with the Iranian Mission to the United Nations. The event will be part of the annual World Leaders Forum, the University-wide initiative intended to further Columbia’s longstanding tradition of serving as a major forum for robust debate, especially on global issues.

In order to have such a University-wide forum, we have insisted that a number of conditions be met, first and foremost that President Ahmadinejad agree to divide his time evenly between delivering remarks and responding to audience questions. I also wanted to be sure the Iranians understood that I would myself introduce the event with a series of sharp challenges to the president on issues including:

  • the Iranian president’s denial of the Holocaust;
  • his public call for the destruction of the State of Israel;
  • his reported support for international terrorism that targets innocent civilians and American troops;
  • Iran’s pursuit of nuclear ambitions in opposition to international sanction;
  • his government’s widely documented suppression of civil society and particularly of women’s rights; and
  • his government’s imprisoning of journalists and scholars, including one of Columbia’s own alumni,
    Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh (see President Bollinger’s statement on Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh’s release).

To read his entire comment go to:

Despite his statement, many people are up in arms and horrified that Ahmadinejad has been extended an invitation. There is a Jewish protester right in front of the main gates on 116th and Broadway with a poster showing Ahmadinejad and the words “Go to Hell.”

I would think that the people who despise him the most would be happy that he has been invited to be challenged. If he is an evil person, then shedding light on to his evilness is a good thing. Ignoring him is not the solution, dialogue is necessary to break barriers and create change.

The Columbia Iranian Student’s Association made this statement:

I. CISA EXECUTIVE BOARD Statement – 9/22/07

The Columbia Iranian Students’ Association (CISA) is a non-political and non-religious organization that is open to all members of the Columbia University community and the community at-large, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion. The purpose of CISA is to organize functions, meetings and other events that promote awareness, understanding, and appreciation of Iranian history,culture and traditions.

As a point of clarification, the invitation extended to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was extended by the University, not CISA. CISA is comprised of individuals with various opinions and beliefs. Our Association supports organized and constructive discourse and debate in an academic setting. Regarding this specific event, our organization’s focus is to support the united students’ efforts to provide a safe and productive outlet for the expression of students’ views.

CISA would also like to take this opportunity to remind our community that many Iranian students on our campus are being placed in a sensitive position. CISA would like to ask all members of our community to be respectful of our peers and not make assumptions about their personal, political, or philosophical perspectives based on their race, ethnicity, or national origin both today and everyday.

Lastly, we would like to remind the Iranian community that we are always available and that you should feel free to reach out to us with any concerns or for any support you might need.

II. On Monday, a non-partisan group of students, the Columbia
Coalition is organizing a forum for student groups and individuals to express their views in ten-minute slots at a podium on Low Plaza. This will be starting at 11:30am and going until 5:30pm (with a gap during the actual event from 1:30-2:30pm). The campus will only be open to Columbia affiliates on Monday, if you would like to attend the forum please remember your CUID. If you would like the opportunity to speak at the forum, send an email to the Coalition (although do not assume you have a slot until you receive confirmaton).

III. CISA will be holding a discussion section for Columbia students on Monday at 6:00pm in 569 Lerner. This will be a safe and comfortable environment for any of you who want to express your opinions and feelings to each other.

Meet Iranian Singles

Iranian Singles

Recipient Of The Serena Shim Award

Serena Shim Award
Meet your Persian Love Today!
Meet your Persian Love Today!