An academic delegation of Columbia University professors and deans of faculties plans to visit Tehran to officially apologize to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
The delegation plans to express regret for the insulting remarks Columbia University President Lee Bollinger directed at Ahmadinejad on September 24 in his introductory speech, the Mehr News Agency correspondent in New York reported.
Since the incident, the deans and professors from the faculties of history, anthropology, Middle Eastern studies, philosophy, and Islamic studies have criticized Bollingerâ€™s behavior toward Ahmadinejad.
A member of the delegation, who requested anonymity, said the main goal of the visit is to meet the Iranian president and officially apologize to him.
â€œThe delegation has also prepared its itinerary,â€ he noted.
He went on to say that the delegation also plans to visit Iranian universities in various cities and to hold talks with professors and students, and may even sign memoranda of understanding with some universities. He also said the delegation is interested in visiting seminaries and the shrine city of Qom.
However, Bollinger has warned the delegation that their trip to Iran should be a private visit and should not be undertaken as an official visit endorsed by the university.
Bollinger has so far refused to meet the Mehr News Agency correspondent to explain his disrespectful behavior toward Ahmadinejad when introducing him to the students and professors at Columbia.