As news of Secretary of State John Kerry’s “frequent visits” with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in 2009 continues to emerge, it is also worth noting that a Harvard group honored Assad’s wife in 2011.
According to The New York Times, the Harvard Arab Alumni Association (HAAA) honored Mrs. Assad at a dinner in Damascus two years ago.
Prior to the dinner the group posted this announcement on its website:
We are greatly honored to hold our Arab World Conference under the esteemed patronage of Her Excellency Mrs. Asma al-Assad, the First Lady of Syria, and are privileged that Her Excellency will deliver the conference’s keynote address. A thought-provoking, inspiring and tireless leader and advocate, the First Lady’s address will certainly be the highlight of our event.
The NYT reported the HAAA’s website “was enthusiastic about Mrs. Assad’s role in Syrian national life and the connection between her work and that of her husband’s regime.”
This dinner came two months after Human Rights Watch labeled “Syrian authorities… among the worst violators of human rights in the world in 2010.”
A disclaimer on HAAA’s website says the group is “independent” and “nothing that is published by HAAA should be taken to represent the opinions or endorsement of Harvard University.”
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