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Official Statement of Faculty of World Studies
It has been brought to our attention that one of our colleagues, Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi, has been barred from attending the American University of Beirut (AUB) to participate in a panel discussion hosted by a UK media outlet. We learned of this news with surprise and sorrow, particularly as our two countries, Lebanon and Iran, enjoy friendly and neighborly relations, and AUB’s actions appear to be at the instigation of a third state. It is very disappointing to see an academic institution in our region succumb to political pressure from abroad, especially as universities in the United States continue to host our Iranian colleagues and academics for sabbaticals and conferences. The politicization of academic life serves only to undermine the credibility of institutions of higher learning and whittle away away at their ability to share knowledge and experience. The University of Tehran has in the past hosted colleagues from the American University of Beirut and we do not plan to reciprocate in any form, recognizing that this political decision taken by individuals in the university’s administrative body do not appear to reflect the sentiments of our academic colleagues at AUB.
Prof. Marandi, it should be noted, was a visiting fellow at AUB as recently as 2011-12. We sincerely hope that AUB’s recent action is reassessed internally and this dangerous precedent is discarded. We respectfully request that AUB provide a publicly disclosed explanation detailing its recent decision, as this transparency will undoubtedly serve to allay the concerns expressed by its own community of academics and students, and dismiss any further speculation as to its intent.
Prof. S. Mohammad Marandi was one of the founders of the Faculty of World Studies as well as the Dep. of American Studies at the University of Tehran and he is currently a member of the Department of American Studies as well as English Literature.