Sondra intrduces Mehdi Khalaji
First, let me welcome old and new friends to the Schemel Forum’s first luncheon seminar of the semester and also remind you that our third annual University for a Day is coming up on Saturday. If you have not yet signed up, I heartily encourage you to do so today with Diane or me, so that you will not miss a day packed with intellectual stimulation and social satisfaction and even toward the end of the day, a rare opportunity to come face to face with the highly acclaimed and controversial, Christopher Hitchens. End of commercial.
In the past several years, our luncheon series has focused on world affairs, recognizing that in the absence of a World Affairs Council in the region, there are not many opportunities to hear experts shed light on the hot spots and hot issues that are on the table in this increasingly interdependent world. We have come to know that interdependence is our reality—not a dream nor a hope; that it is sometimes negative and sometimes positive, and that it challenges us, giving us a new responsibility—to know what is going on, not just in our community or our nation, but in places that we have never been to and may, indeed, never be too. We’ve learned from environmentalists that our physical world is interdependent and thus requires certain behaviors that reflect our respect for those who may be harmed by our actions. We must take the same measures in the political and social world.
It begins with understanding and to that end the Schemel Forum is proud to have the world as our focus in the luncheon series and to refer to the series hereafter as World Affairs Briefings. We offer this program as a modest effort to illuminate the citizens of our region to the very urgent realities of 21st century interdependence.
And so, appropriately, we launch our series with one of the most perplexing challenges of this time in history: our relationship with Iran. We welcome Mehdi Khalaji here today to give us a better understanding of Iran today and in particular it’s very troubling relationship with the United States.
Mehdi Khalaji is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, focusing on Iranian politics and the Shiite groups in the Middle East. A Shiite theologian by training, Mr. Khalaji has also served on the editorial boards of two prominent Iranian periodicals and produced for the BBC as well as US Government’s Persian news service. We are very fortunate to have him with us today. Please join me in welcoming Mr. Khalaji, who will discuss with us “The US-Iran Relationship Dilemma: The Hard Core of Iran’s Foreign Policy.”