On Channel 4, Lester Holt today had the dean of the Columbia School of International Studies on, Dr. John Coatsworth. Students at Columbia will be taking part in a question-and-answer period with the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmandinejad, after he gives a speech.
The bumper sticker people, whose sense of enlightenment extends to what can be slapped on the back of a car and read inside a few seconds, are giving Columbia grief for the visit. I am sure Columbia will be fine. They are providing an incredible learning experience for the 500 students who will have the opportunity to ask questions of one of the most controversial leaders in the world.
This Iranian president says some very hateful, evil stuff. He's a bad guy, and maybe one of the worst on the planet. But he's also in charge of a country and, if one is studying international relations in a serious way (e.g. studying at Columbia) then there's got to be educational worth hearing this nonsense first-hand.
Dr. Coatsworth deserves a lot of credit for setting this up for the students. It's definitely better than popping in a DVD during class.