Postponement of AAUP Conference

Roger W. Bowen

General Secretary

American Association of University Professors

1012 Fourteenth Street, NW, Suite #500

Washington, DC 20005


Dear Dr. Bowen:

The Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) is concerned about what seems to have been the mobilization of political pressure to force the postponement of a legitimate academic conference.  The Board believes that the propriety of academic boycotts, and whether or not they violate the principle of academic freedom,  are important issues that merit serious, open and dispassionate discussion in an atmosphere free of unfounded accusations, intimidation or insinuations of prejudice.  We are certain that members of MESA and of other academic organizations would benefit from the kind of scholarly yet vigorous examination of these issues that we understand was the purpose of the conference that was to have taken place in Bellagio, Italy.  We encourage the AAUP to reschedule the conference and request that all of the original invitees be afforded the same opportunities that they were initially extended. 


Juan R.I. Cole

MESA, President

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