One of my great joys as Dean of The Fletcher School is the fascinating conversations I get to have with our alumni around the world. This week, on the heels of her assignment at the UN General Assembly, I enjoyed a visit from Fletcher PhD Dr. Banafsheh Keynoush — interpreter for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and three of his predecessors: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mohammad Khatami and Akbar Rafsanjani.

“Behind every policy is a person,” says Dr. Keynoush.

Dr. Keynoush treated me to a wide ranging discussion about the delicate art of interpreting both words and culture, her early experiences as a professional woman in politics in Iran, her journey to Fletcher, and what she learned on a personal level in her work as the translator to four powerful world leaders.

I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.

2 Responses to Interpreters as Peacemakers: My Conversation with Banafsheh Keynoush, Interpreter for 4 Iranian Presidents


    Two personalities in diplomacy. I liked the ease of discussion and that Dr. Keynoush managed to break prejudices Arab world. Behind every man stands a strong woman! Glad your students have mentors so good. Congratulations Dr. James Stavridis!

    Sincerely yours, Camelia

  2. Omid says:

    Dr. James Stavridis,

    Bear in your mind it is “Persian Gulf” in any category!