Coatsworth is also apparently a genius in the Latin American field, with extensive knowledge of the 21 countries in the region.
He became controversial during the media circus surrounding the 2007 appearance of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he claimed Columbia would have also invited Hitler to speak. Coatsworth's words were:
"If Hitler were in the United States and wanted a platform from which to speak, he would have plenty of platforms to speak in the United States. If he were willing to engage in a debate and a discussion, to be challenged by Columbia students and faculty, we would certainly invite him."