This past week the Center for Defense and Diplomacy of the Columbia University Roosevelt Institute led a discussion on relations between Russia and the United States in the context of the Sochi Olympic Games. Conversation revolved around the provocative use of openly LGBTQ athletes as part of the official U.S. delegation to Russia. While many agreed that this decision sent a message to Russia in light of recent ban on “Homosexual Propaganda,” others disagreed with the idea that the U.S. could be a leader on LGBTQ issues because of the majority of states in the U.S. that either ban or discriminate against LGBTQ people, as well as these state’s resistance to granting full marriage equality. Others didn’t feel that the Olympic games were an appropriate venue for such a statement, as the games should be a time where the world comes together, not divides itself. Almost universally the body agreed that a boycott of the games would have very negative consequences for everyone involved. It was a really great discussion, and I hope everyone attends more meetings in the future!
-Ned, D&D Center Leader and Kunal Shah, Education Center Leader