Politic leader address (Issue 7, 2009)

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Iranian political leader Mohammed Khatami

At the end of March, the Centre for Dialogue at La Trobe University hosted its first public event for the year – an address by former Iranian president Sayed Mohammed Khatami.

Mr Khatami was described by Centre Director Professor Joseph Camilleri as a ‘scholar-politician who presents a striking contrast to the hard-line and populist incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.’ He said Mr Khatami ‘advanced the idea that all the world’s cultures, religions and civilisations have much to learn from each other, and that humanity’s capacity to meet the challenges of the 21st century will depend largely on such mutual learning.’

More than 1500 people attended the event at the Melbourne (Bundoora) campus to listen to the Muslim’s leader address, ‘Dialogue: only path to peace’, which was his only public engagement in Melbourne. Khatami has announced his candidacy for the presidential election to be held this June. His previous eight-year presidency had mixed results. He introduced a number of political reforms; initiated city council elections and acknowledged the voices of civil society. Some of his initiatives survived despite the conservative environment of the last few years.

The La Trobe University Centre for Dialogue is a major initiative of La Trobe University, which specialises in the theory and practice of dialogue across all cultural, religious, political and economic dimensions, and to identify avenues and mechanisms that can promote it nationally and internationally.