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- Written by Eman Jueid
- Category: In Other News
This article, written by David Fine, appeared on Tablet on July 10,2012
September marks five years since Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was hosted by Columbia University, which went out of its way to offer the notorious leader a prestigious American platform. This September, as students return to the Morningside Heights campus, among them will be a 22-year-old woman linked closely to the atrocities of another infamous world leader: Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Now professors, students, donors, and activists are debating again whether academic freedom has limits—and where the latest case of Sheherazad Jaafari falls.
Emails leaked last month revealed that Barbara Walters had helped Jaafari, Assad’s former aide and daughter of Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, gain admittance into Columbia’s graduate School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), a kind of finishing school for future diplomats. But the controversy at Columbia isn’t about what strings Jaafari pulled. It’s about the fact that she worked closely with the Syrian president for over a year to help him reach out to and spin foreign press as his regime murdered over 15,000 of its own people and tortured countless others.
READ MORE AT Tablet
*Photo Credit: InSapphoWeTrust
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