By: Fredrick Venus

BLOOMINGTON– Beginning in April, Indiana University’s SGIS will be hosting a slew of dictators from around the world in a speaker series entitled, “Fists of Iron, Hearts of Gold.”

The first dictator featured will be Rodrigo Duterte, noted authoritarian from the Philippines, who has facilitated the deaths of hundreds of drug dealers, and has silenced all opposition leaders. He will be followed by newly re-elected Vladamir Putin, who will be presenting an interactive demonstration on poisoning journalists. Then Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela will host a discussion on living and working during a country’s economic collapse entitled, “No Money, No Problems.”

This isn’t the first time SGIS has set up an event like this, however last time, keynote speaker Muammar Gaddafi died tragically right before his scheduled appearance, and the series was canceled.

Bashar Al-Assad, previously slated to headline the event will unfortunately not be attending in person due to the fact that, as stated by his publicist, “he is seriously buried in his work at the moment.” However, there are rumors that he will appear virtually for a segment entitled, “Proxy Wars and Plausible Deniability,” however Flipside could not confirm this with Mr. Al-Assad’s office independently.

For whatever reason, not all students are looking forward to the event. SGIS direct admit Laura Riddle stated, “This is an outrage! These are people who should be locked away for the rest of their lives, not put on a pedestal by an academic institution!” She continued, seething with rage, “I am absolutely disgusted by all of this. How can anybody think these monsters have anything to teach us?!”

In an interview, SGIS Dean Lee Feinstein addressed these concerns: “This series will hopefully give our students a chance to network with world leaders, and allow them to see the humans behind the human rights abuses.” He continued, stating “Our intention is to prepare our students for diplomacy, and we hope this series will help prevent attendees from being starstruck on meeting iconic leaders, such as Kim Jong Un.”

Though Un will not be attending the event, North Korean products will be included in the merchandise sold afterward; Students will have the opportunity to buy authentic bullets, certified to have killed protestors, and souvenir phone cases.