The Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences Division of Humanities welcomed noted journalist and documentary filmmaker Maziar Bahari to Nova Southeastern University as part of the college's 2012-2013 Distinguished Speakers Series.
Bahari, an Iranian Canadian, has been a correspondent for Newsweek for more than 10 years, covering Iranian economic, political, and cultural life.
He was arrested in Tehran while reporting on the 2009 presidential election protests. He was picked up by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard and sent to Evin Prison, which is notorious for torturing political prisoners. Accused of "masterminding the coverage of the Iranian election by the Western media" and being a spy for the Mossad, the MI6, and the CIA, Bahari was held in solitary confinement for most of his 118 days in captivity.
He was repeatedly beaten and was forced to give a televised false confession. After international pressure mounted and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed interest in his case, Bahari was released on $300,000 bail.
His story of resilience was the subject of a 60 Minutes segment and a Newsweek cover story. In 2011, he published a memoir, Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival.
Bahari's documentaries have covered a variety of subjects: Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany (The Voyage of The Saint Louis), AIDS in South Africa (Of Shames and Coffins), and Iraqi children detained in military prisons (Children of Abu Ghraib). A retrospective of his work was organized by the International Documentary Film Festival, and the ILEX Foundation honored him with the Award for Excellence in Iranian Cinema. He has appeared on The Daily Show, Fareed Zakaria GPS, and Charlie Rose.
As part of the college mission to prepare students for rich professional careers and active citizenship, the college frames co-curricular programs and experiences around a broad annual theme that unites our community in interdisciplinary exploration. The academic theme for the 2012-2013 school year is "Life and Death." Bahari spoke on this theme.