Harriman Lecture


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.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Lecture Hall, 3rd Floor Pulitzer Hall (Graduate School of Journalism, 2950 Broadway at 116th St)
Please join the Harriman Institute for the 2016 Harriman Lecture with Dunja Mijatović, Representative on Freedom of the Media at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Registration is Required.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Kraft Center, Rennert Hall (606 West 115th Street, New York, NY 10025)
Please join the Harriman Institute for the 2015 Annual Harriman Lecture by Ambassador Michael McFaul.
Event Video
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Kraft Center, Rennert Hall (606 West 115th Street, New York, NY 10025)
Please join the Harriman Institute for the Harriman Lecture by Sergei Guriev. Registration required.
Video Coverage
Monday, April 17, 2006
Low Memorial Library, Columbia University

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."

event report
Thursday, October 21, 2004

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.

Friday, September 13, 2002

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.

Monday, March 11, 2002

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."

Follow the link for summary and video.

Thursday, October 19, 2000

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



Monday, November 22, 1999

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.

Monday, December 1, 1997

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.