More than 30 years after the Iran hostage crisis, former Canadian ambassador to Iran Kenneth Taylor will be at Concordia to discuss his role in the events leading to the release of six American hostages.
As part of Homecoming 2011, Taylor will present "Iran: The Middle East Power" as part of the Henri Habib Distinguished Lecture Series on Peace, Conflict and Global Politics. “I spoke in Dr. Habib’s class 28 years ago,” he recalls.
“I’m delighted to speak at Concordia again; it’s such a diversified campus.” Taylor, who resigned from Foreign Service in 1984 for a career in the private sector, continues to travel widely and speak about his experiences while working as a consultant.
Taylor met series organizer Simon Bensimon, Principal Director of Development for the Faculty of Arts and Science, last May during the annual Alumni Recognition Awards. Taylor was attending as a guest of his friend Paul M. Levesque, who received the Benoît Pelland Distinguished Service Award. “We want to invite interesting, high-profile speakers who have a connection to international relations and peace,” said Bensimon. Both he and Taylor were enthusiastic about the opportunity, and the arrangements were quickly made.
After joining the Canadian Foreign Service in 1959, Taylor’s career included postings in Guatemala and Pakistan during politically charged periods. “If you are a diplomat or Foreign Service officer you know your life is not going to be predictable,” acknowledges Taylor.
That philosophy was underscored as events unfolded in 1979. “Iran was a classic revolution of the 20th century.” According to Taylor, the importance of the Iran conflict for US policy attracted attention to the situation, “Canada’s contribution loomed large,” he adds. After his intervention helped release six American hostages, he was awarded the Order of Canada and the United States Congressional Gold Medal.
“Even today, anyone who was over 15 in 1980 remembers. It’s given me a certain amount of notoriety.” He recalls that during his Foreign Service years, he travelled frequently, and was a familiar face for many customs officers. “Now, the younger ones look at me and say, ‘I think I studied you in school,’” he adds, “Thirty years was a long time ago.”
What: Henri Habib Distinguished Lecture Series on Peace, Conflict and Global Politics: "Iran: The Middle East Power"
When: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: D.B. Clarke Theatre, Henry F. Hall Building (1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.)
Although the event is free and open to all, registration is required by September 12.
Phone: 514-848-2424, ext. 4397
Toll free: 1-888-777-3330
The Henry Habib Distinguished Lecture Series is organized by the Concordia Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations as part of Homecoming 2011.
• Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations