Iran prison survivor to visit NSU

On Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center, NSU’s Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences will host the Humanities Distinguished Speaker event with Maziar Bahari. In 2009, Bahari, a Canadian-Iranian award-winning journalist, documentary filmmaker and Newsweek correspondent was arrested and tortured in Iran’s Evin prison for 118 days, accused of being a spy.

Bahari will discuss his 2011 memoir “Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival,” which offers an insight on his time in captivity.

Bahari was covering the 2009 Iranian election and outbreak of protests, on behalf of Newsweek. He was one of a few journalists invited to attend the first prayer ceremony after the election with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Days later, on June 21, he was arrested by Iranian intelligence officers on six charges, primarily suspicion of being a spy for the CIA, Israel’s Mossad, Britain’s MI6, and Newsweek. He was interrogated, tortured and put in solitary confinement, within a 6-by-12-foot prison cell, for 118 days, 12 hours and 54 minutes.

After the arrest, his story was internationally reported and a website, freemaziarbahari.org, was created to raise awareness.

Assistant professor in the Division of Humanities Stephen Andon said, “As a member of the news media and a filmmaker, his work reveals the important job that media has as the ‘Fourth Estate’ to bring a critical perspective and make the public aware of what is happening throughout our world. His work uses the tools of media to highlight injustice in the world.”

Before his speech, Farquhar will host a student seminar to give a small group of select students an opportunity to meet Bahari and ask him questions.

Andon said, “Mr. Bahari will appeal to the collective human nature that strives for freedom in the face of opposition. [His] experiences bring together a number of different avenues for consideration — mixing law, journalism, and communication studies.”

Dean Don Rosenblum of Farquhar College said, “The College hosts the Distinguished Speakers program to bring thoughtful and important voices and issues to campus. Mr. Bahari can reflect on his extraordinary experience as a journalist and his insights on the significance and importance of recent events in the Middle East.  Students may find the stories of his experience to be inspiring and motivating.”

Rosenblum also would like students to realize that, “People do not always control the situations they are in. However, they have a say in how they respond and what they make of those situations.”
For ticket information, contact Farquhar’s Office of the Dean at (954) 262-7950.

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