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.

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