On September 13, 2002, Dr. Vojislav Kostunica, President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), delivered the 11th Harriman Lecture, titled "The Quest for the Rule of Law: The Yugoslav Case." During his talk, Kostunica argued that the most important part of the transition process from a totalitarian to a democratic system, and from socialism to a market-based economy, was establishing judicial independence and the rule of law, without which, according to Kostunica, all other efforts were doomed to fail. Kostunica also expressed his optimism that current efforts to reform the Yugoslav Federation would succeed, and made a plea for the international community to continue to support efforts to rebuild the FRY and all of southeastern Europe.
After his lecture, President Kostunica presented Columbia University with a personal gift, a bust of Mihailo Pupin, a Serbian emigrant who was educated at Columbia, and taught here for 30 years. The most prestigious award bestowed by Columbia's Engineering School is the Pupin Medal for Service to the Nation.