Yale Presents a Timely Series -- The War in Iraq: Yale University Teach-Ins

Fulfilling a principal mission of a great teaching institution and reflecting the highest values of a free and open society, Yale University President Richard C. Levin initiated a series of faculty-led discussions on the many ramifications of the Iraq war.

The discussions, or Teach-Ins, focus on different aspects of the war from a range of perspectives. They are meant to provide students and the larger public with the knowledge necessary to understand public events of profound importance.

“Through the expertise of our faculty, the University can provide multiple perspectives on controversial issues,” Levin said.

“In an environment of civility, where we respect and listen carefully to one another, controversy stimulates learning,” he noted in a letter to the Yale community.

“The War in Iraq: Yale University Teach-Ins” began on March 26 with a discussion moderated by the series coordinator John Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History, Acting Director of the International Security Studies Program and Chair of the International Affairs Council of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies (YCIAS). Participants Ellen Lust-Okar, who teaches in the Political Science department; Charles Hill, lecturer in International Affairs and veteran diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service; Paul Kennedy, the J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History and Director of the International Security Studies Program; and Donald Kagan, the Sterling Professor of Classics and History, argued their respective viewpoints of the war, which ranged from distressing predictions for its ultimate outcome to optimism that it will achieve long-term peace in the Middle East.

In a discussion of the cultural heritage of the war held on April 1, a panel of historians and archaeologists talked about many of Iraq’s major contributions to Western civilization. These include the invention of paper, the first library, the Jewish religion and the preservation of Greek and Latin literature and philosophy.

In a lecture on April 3, Pacifica Radio’s national affairs correspondent Larry Bensky talked about the challenges of covering the progress of the war for public radio.

On April 4 Professors Arjun Appadurai, Bruce Ackerman, Seyla Benhabib, Paul Gilroy and Gaspar Tam‡-representing a range of disciplines, from political science and anthropology to African American studies and philosophy-discussed some of the ethical and economic ramifications of the war.

The following events in the Teach-In series will take place in the future. Unless otherwise noted, all of these events, which are free and open to the public, will take place in Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Avenue, at 8 p.m.

On April 6, William Nordhaus, the Sterling Professor of Economics, will discuss the economic cost of the war. His analysis of how much the war will cost, based on several potential outcomes, has arguably been quoted by the media more often than any other. Nordhaus is frequently interviewed on radio and television, and his testimony was the centerpiece of a segment of the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer that aired March 5. Professors Roger Ibbotson and Douglas Rae, who teach in the Yale School of Management, will provide commentary at Sunday’s discussion.

On Thursday, April 10, the Yale Center for International and Area Studies will host a panel titled “The War and Its Repercussions.” Panel members are Charles Hill; Bruce Russett, the Dean Acheson Professor of International Relations and Director of the United Nations Studies program; Gus Ranis, the Frank Altschul Professor of International Economics and director of YCIAS; and Gaddis Smith, the Larned Professor Emeritus of History. Frank Griffel, the director of undergraduate studies in the Religious Studies department, will moderate the panel “The War and Its Repercussions.” Note: this discussion will take place at 4 p.m.

Kennedy, Charles Hill and James Sutterlin, a fellow of the United Nations Studies program, will discuss the”Future of the United Nations” on April 13.

On April 17, two student groups representing different view of the war, the Yale Coalition for Peace and the Yale College Students for Democracy, are sponsoring a debate between Rashid Khalidi, professor of History and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, and John Gaddis.

Director of Yale’s Center for the Study of Globalization, Ernesto Zedillo, and YCIAS Director Ranis will discuss “Nation Building” with one other as yet unnamed panelist on April 27.

The final event in the series is a student panel on May 4.

All events in “The War in Iraq: Yale University Teach-Ins” are being recorded on videotape and can be seen online. Visit www.yale.edu/opa for direct links to the online recordings.

A videotape of the April 1 Teach-In on Iraq’s cultural heritage can be purchased for $8 from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization. Call Maureen Draicchio at (203) 432-2944 to order a copy.

The first discussion in the series, on March 26, was also recorded by Citizens’ Access TV for Comcast customers in certain areas. That discussion will be broadcast on Chanel 29 on Tuesdays at 9 p.m., and Saturdays, at 7 p.m. throughout April. Consult your local listings for broadcasts of other Yale Teach-Ins on the war.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345