The Annual W. Averell Harriman Lectures were inaugurated in 1989 to honor the memory of our principal benefactor by making a special intellectual contribution to the University community and to our field. We do this by each year inviting a preeminent scholar, political figure, or cultural luminary related in some way to our area of study to deliver a major address for the entire University community and many other guests.
Ismail Kadare, Albania's best-known poet and novelist, and winner of the 2005 Man Booker International Prize for literature, will give the Annual Harriman Lecture on Monday, April 17th, at 4pm in the Rotunda of Low Library. The title of Mr. Kadare's lecture is "Literature and Tyranny."
In awarding the Booker Prize to Mr. Kadare, the chairman of the prize, Mr. John Carey, said that "Kadare is a writer who maps a whole culture--its history, its passion, its folklore, its politics, its disasters. He is a universal writer in a tradition of storytelling that goes back to Homer."
The Swedish Academy awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Literature to Imre Kertesz “for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history.” The Harriman Lecture was presented in the form of a dialogue with Professor Ivan Sanders (Columbia University), well-known scholar of Hungarian literature.
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.
President Mikhail Gorbachev, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, delivered the Tenth Annual Harriman Lecture before a standing-room-only audience in Low Library. Gorbachev traced the history of the Soviet Union from the Russian Revolution in 1917 to the present day. Impatient with critics of the state of democracy in Russia, Gorbachev opines, "Remember, America's democracy has evolved over 200 years. We need time to succeed."
The USSR: Three Historical Probes
I. The 1930s: A System and a Psyche
II. The USSR's 1960s: In Quest of Modernization
III. Russia's 20th Century: The Burdens of History
As Chancellor of Germany from 1974 to 1982, Helmut Schmidt stressed the goal of the political unification of Europe. As that goal moves closer to reality, Schmidt will discuss some of the pitfalls that may arise in a major address Monday, Nov. 22. One of the founders of the Economic Summits of the major Western powers begun in 1975, Schmidt will speak on "The 21st Century in Europe: Risks, Opportunities, and Probabilities," at 5:30 P.M.
Controversies over the corpses, burials and gravesites of national heroes in post-socialist Eastern Europe and Russia--and what this means politically--were examined by the noted social scientist Katherine Verdery in three lectures the week of December 1, 1997.
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