Vali Nasr was born in Iran, where his father was a high profile academic and university administrator Then came the revolution. They fled–and that traumatic experience, he says, shaped his intellectual development in ways he is only beginning to understand.
Nasr is now dean of the School of Advanced International Studies, better known as SAIS, at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of several books including The Shia Revival which predicted the rise of sectarianism in the Middle East and Dispensable Nation which critiqued Obama administration policies in the Middle East. Nasr served in the Obama administration, working directly under Richard Holbrooke in the State Department’s Afghanistan/Pakistan policy office.
In this conversation, Nasr discusses the impact of the Iranian revolution on his own career and intellectual pursuits. He also discusses his friendship with Richard Holbrooke and how his untimely death may have altered the course of history,