Pervez Musharraf, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Pakistan: Meeting the Challenge of Peace and Development

September 16, 2005 12:45 PM


by President Lee Bollinger

Lee Bollinger: Good afternoon and thank you all for joining us. Rarely do we have an opportunity such as this to greet a figure of such central and global importance. It is with great gratitude and excitement that I welcome President Musharraf and his wife, *Shayba Musharraf to Columbia University. This week, as the heads of state arrive in New York for the United Nations 2005 World Summit, Columbia is honored to be welcoming a number of these world leaders to our campus. Their presence here and the work they are contributing to the United Nations are vivid reminders of how deeply interdependent our world has become. Indeed, we live in an age when the future of one nation is bound tightly to the future of every other nation.

It is a time when a disease cannot be contained by geographic boundaries.
When new ideas are transmitted instantly and when a shift in one nation's
economy can for better or worse reverberate globally. Today, in this age of
globalization, change in one place means change in every other place. And this
is especially true of Pakistan. Pakistan's regional and global significance cannot
be overstated. And is expanding. It sits at the crossroads of the Middle East and
South Asia, two regions of great cultural importance, growing economic power,
and enormous political consequence. President Musharraf joins us today to talk
about his country's place in this changing world.

To discuss peace and development in his nation and beyond. We at Columbia
are eager to listen. As a community of scholars and as students and faculty who
come from everywhere in the world, we take a great scholarly and personal
interest in what the president has to say. The development in Pakistan from the
past several years, from its economic growth to its fight against extremism and
terrorism, are vital issues for all of us. Mr. President, as you share your thoughts
and insights, you will give our students, the leaders of tomorrow, first hand
knowledge of the world their generation will inherit. As a university developing
this knowledge, both for our students and the world outside our gates, is among
our very highest responsibilities.

Columbia is not only a private institution, we are a public trust. We have a
compact with this city, with this nation, and indeed with the world to better
understand the complexities of our age so that we can help confront the
challenges posed by globalization and take fuller advantage of its benefits.
Grason Kirk, who was president of Columbia 50 years ago, described universities
as light houses by which our societies steer their course. Columbia carries forth
this mission in part through gatherings like this. Mr. President, your presence
here today reflects a long tradition of engagement between your nation and our

Columbia School of International and Public Affairs founded the Center for
Pakistan Studies more than half a century ago, in 1951. The Pakistan
government has supported a visiting chair at Columbia for years and Columbia
as you know, is home to dozens of students from Pakistan. President Musharraf
we thank you for being with us today and we welcome you to Columbia

President Pervez Musharraf: Thank you.

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