The following is the full text of the speech delivered on November 11, 2015 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with heads of universities, research and growth centers and science and technology parks.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and God’s greetings be upon Muhammad and upon his immaculate household.
The significance of knowledge and universities
Welcome, you dear brothers and sisters. This is the meeting of knowledge, knowledgeable individuals and academic personalities and this is one of the best and sweetest meetings for this humble person. I listened carefully to and benefitted from the statements of the two honorable Ministers. I hope that Allah the Exalted will help us reap benefits – for the country – from such meetings, assemblies and discussions and I hope that they will not be confined to the mere act of sitting, watching and speaking.
We have spoken at length about the significance of knowledge and universities. Both we and others have done so. Fortunately, it is many years now that we have been speaking about the significance of knowledge and consequently the significance of universities and as Dr. Hashemi pointed out, our dream was that the significance of knowledge and the necessity of attending to the issue of knowledge in the country would tun into a discourse and now, this has almost happened. Therefore, we should thank God for that.
Knowledge is the most important tool for the dignity, progress and power of a people.
Knowledge is the most important tool for progress and national power. This should be considered a fact as this is really the case. Knowledge is the most important tool for the dignity, progress and power of a people. Universities too are the most important educators of managers for the future of the country. Well, what is more important than this? You are educating the future managers of the country. If you educate them in an efficient way – by Allah’s favor, this is the case – the future of the country will be managed efficiently. If we cannot do so efficiently and if we show laziness, the future of the country will naturally be influenced by this laziness. This is the importance of universities.
The Iranian legacy and experience
Of course, all of us know that universities, with their current form, are a westen phenomenon, but universities in the sense that they are educators of geniuses and outstanding personalities are not a westen phenomenon in any way. This has a millennium-long history in our country. Universities, with their current form, are based on the west, but this country has had schools that built the likes of Ibn Sina, Farabi, Mohammad ibn Zakariya Razi and Kharazmi. They were educated in this country. These names that we are mentioning are well-known names, but there are also thousands of unknown names from among physicians, engineers, inventors, literary personalities, philosophers and mystics, all of whom have been educated in our country.
I would like to quote something from George Sarton. When others say something, people accept it more easily than when we ourselves say it! This is why I am quoting him, otherwise I am not used to quoting sentences from westeners. George Sarton – who has written a history of science, a well-known book that has been translated and published and that all of you have probably read – says, “Iranian scholars have played the most important role in this civilization. When we remove the works of Iranian scholars from this collection, we have actually removed the most beautiful part.” Sarton is a scientific historian. There is another quotation from Pierre Rousseau who has also written a history of science. This book has been translated into Farsi many years ago and it is available to everyone. I am quoting him from memory because I saw his book many years ago and I cannot quote the exact words. I saw his book many years ago. I wanted to refer to and read it again, but I did not have the time. Despite this, I have written down the reference. I remember that I have written down the reference somewhere so that I know where exactly he has said it.
In this book, he quotes the conversation between a European – Italian or French – merchant and a scientific expert in those days. This has happened in the Middle Ages. The merchant wants to consult with the expert and says to him, “I want my child to study and become a scholar. Which country and university should I send him to?” The expert answers, “If you are satisfied with the four basic mathematic operations, you can send him to whichever European universities that you like. It makes no difference, but if you want something beyond that, you should send him to Andalusia.” At that time, Andalusia was in Muslims’ hands. This is the history of knowledge in Islam. The former is related to Iran and the latter is related to Islam.
Iran is the peak of thought and knowledge production among Islamic countries.
We have such a history. We have such a legacy, whether in the Islamic or in the Iranian environment. Of course, I should add that – I hope that this will not be interpreted as tribalism and nationalism – Iran is the peak of thought and knowledge production among Islamic countries. We know no other country that has such great personalities. For example, there are numerous philosophers in Iran who are like al-Kindi – and al-Kindi is only one among many philosophers – and other such personalities. So, even if we speak about the history of Islamic knowledge, Iran will still be number one. This is our legacy. This is our past. This is our history.
There were bright spots during the time of Qajar and Pahlavi dynasties as well. Of course, I am sorry that our knowledgeable personalities and book readers have very little information about our recent and contemporary history, whether the history of Qajar or Pahlavi dynasty. Their information is very limited in this regard and they are usually not aware of details. From the mid-Qajar era until the Pahlavi era – it reached its peak during this time – there were certain reasons why this spiritual legacy was not benefited from properly during a time when knowledge had blossomed in the world.
Well, as you know, our era – the present century – is the era of the blossoming and growth of knowledge in the world. Every country has reached somewhere. Every country has reached somewhere during the past 100, 120 years. During this era – our universities are 80-plus years old – we could have benefited from this legacy when we were imitating westen and European universities in the country. We could have benefitted from that spirit and from the talents, opportunities and capacities that existed in our country. We could have built Iranian universities and make our universities domestic. We could have done so, but we did not because of certain reasons related to Pahlavi and Qajar dynasties. That valuable legacy was not utilized during the time when westen science was entering our country.
Today however, the spirit of building, having self-reliance and self-confidence, putting forward new ideas and producing articles that others in the world can refer to exists in abundance in our country and in our academic and scientific environments. But in those days, such things did not exist. In those days, we could neither benefit from our scientific disposition, the scientific opportunities of our legacy, nor from our spiritual and moral legacy in scientific environments. For either of these issues, there is a detailed explanation, but I do not want to discuss them now. I do not want to explain what our scientific disposition in former scientific environments was or how it changed when westen methods entered our country.
In the past, students used to kneel down before their teachers and they did not insult them in any way despite the fact that scientific and scholarly environments were free environments. In the present time too, Islamic seminaries enjoy the same condition. When we engage in teaching, all the clergy who are in the class have the right to criticize and they do criticize. They criticize, shout and express their ideas freely and there is nothing wrong with this. And no one thinks that this is a problem. As for teachers, they are responsible for answering politely. This was the case in the past, but students showed humility before their teachers as well. This is related to our scientific and academic behavior in the past. But in the present time, there are a few of teachers who have been beaten or knifed by their students, whether at school or at university. This means that our scientific behavior has completely changed. Neither our scientific legacy and capacity nor our scientific and academic behavior was passed on to future generations. This was how our universities were shaped.
The westeners’ plans for the so-called third-world countries
Westeners had plans for our universities. I am saying this based on precise information. So, this is not demagoguery, rather it has been researched. Those people who are interested in researching into sociological and social issues and issues related to foreign policy and the like have carried out precise research on such matters. Westeners have planned for countries that they have called, “third-world countries” so that they can train individuals who grow on the basis of westen behavior, methods and lifestyle and who can take the leadership of their countries in their hands. This was the plan they formulated.
They have formulated the same plan for our universities. In other words, they wanted our universities to become a bridge towards whatever westeners wanted to happen in Iran. This was what they wanted, but it did not happen. In practice, our universities were not put at the service of westen goals. This is one of the most important issues and points about our country. They wanted our universities to be places where westen thoughts and lifestyle can be pumped into the country. Of course, they were successful to some extent in certain areas. There is no doubt about this. The people at the top of the political system – particularly during the time of founding universities that concurred with Reza Khan’s rule – were people who completely believed in the west and in the westen civilization.
All the people who somehow invaded Iran were dissolved in it after some time: their language, traditions and culture were dissolved in Iran. The only exception is Islam.
You have heard what they used to say. However, they did not succeed in the end because Iranian identity did its job. Iranian identity is an astonishing phenomenon in history. All the people who somehow invaded Iran were dissolved in it after some time: their language, traditions and culture were dissolved in Iran. The only exception is Islam. Islam entered Iran, but it did not drown in it. It thrived there and the Iranians cherished it from the bottom of their hearts. However, the language of other countries that were attacked by Muslim Arabs was changed. The language of Egypt, Palestine and Sham changed into Arabic, but the language of Iran did not change and it continued to be Farsi. This is an astonishing phenomenon in Iran. This is a quality that belongs to Iran. The same thing happened in this case as well: Iranian identity did its job.
First of all, there were certain individuals in universities who used to preserve religious practices despite the fact that this course of action was completely rejected by the other side. Reza Khan did not agree with religious practices at all. Those people who founded universities in Iran – I do not want to mention their names – did not agree with it either, just like Reza Khan. It was they who injected such thoughts into Reza Khan’s head. They were not at all willing to see anyone pray and mention God’s Name in universities, but this happened. As was pointed out in the meeting, Islamic congresses were established and a number of Muslims became university professors and they promoted religion. They stood up against non-religious thoughts. The movement began from then.
The Islamic movement
The more time passed, the stronger this religious and pious spirit became inside universities until it reached the Islamic movement of the year 1341. In that year, universities launched a great movement in the direction of religiousness and faith although communists were present on the scene as well. In those days, communists and Marxists were very active inside universities. I used to witness this in Mashhad where I had close connections. In other cities too – in Tehran and other cities where I used to travel and associate with students – we used to witness the presence of Marxist thoughts in universities.
What is strange is that those people who had Marxist orientations in universities used to cooperate with the regime against the growing Islamic thinking in universities. Their books used to be published and sold freely. This was while the books of Muslim revolutionaries and youth – whether the books that they themselves had written, which were few in number of course, or the books that they wanted to read – were monitored in a very strict manner. They could hardly have access to such books. In fact, during the time of the Islamic movement, the Pahlavi apparatus focused all its attention on fighting against the Islamic movement, but it used to compromise with the leftists, Marxists and the like. Well, they too responded to this compromise. Many of them went and became members in Farah Pahlavi’s office. Many of them were employed in the television and the radio and they cooperated with the regime there. The extremist leftists of 1330s and 1340s became the regime’s colleagues! Despite this, the movement of universities towards Islamic thinking became stronger, deeper and more established on a daily basis.
The victory of Islam through a Revolution and the formation of a political system on the basis of Islam shook the whole world – the west and the east – in the real sense of the word.
This condition continued until the Revolution was conducted. Of course, this movement was the movement of Islamic resistance. It was deep-rooted and it enjoyed deep thoughts. Shahid Motahhari’s ideas and thoughts was an example of the ideas that used to be promoted in universities. Well, the Islamic Revolution - that achieved victory in the year 1357 – shook the whole world, without any exaggeration. The victory of Islam through a Revolution and the formation of a political system on the basis of Islam shook the whole world – the west and the east – in the real sense of the word. It is evident that this phenomenon influenced universities. Many forces inside universities – whether university professors or students – were among the most sincere and loyal companions of the Revolution. This is one of the historical experiences of our universities. This era should not be forgotten and erased from memory. This was related to the past.
During the 37 years that have passed from those days, we have had many peaks and troughs. Many things have happened. Our universities have both progressed and regressed. Different orientations have dominated universities at certain points in time. Our universities have witnessed many peaks and troughs. And this is natural. With a careful look, we see that when an Islamic govenment holds power, it is not strange for those people who have Islamic orientations to have differences of opinion and different orientations among themselves, with the result that different waves of thoughts appear in universities.
Of course, ideological opponents – even Marxists - became active in universities during this time as well. I have read a number of books saying that they want to restore Marxist thoughts in universities. I know this because I read many books – I read all the books that I have access to. At which point in time did they want to restore Marxist thoughts? After the downfall of the Soviet Union and after the decline of Marxism and Marxist govenments in the world! However, this did not pay off and universities did not welcome it. In any case, our universities have gone through different stages and eras during the past 37 years, so now, it is we and universities.
The New Islamic Civilization
What should we do so that we can benefit from universities – considering their experience, history, historical background and legacy, considering the good test that universities took during the Revolution and considering the problems that arose for them: considering all these things together – with the purpose of creating the new Islamic civilization? This is our goal after all. The goal is to establish an Islamic govenment that can tun society into the ideal society that Islam wants. We are after this. Primarily, we want our country – we do not want to involve other countries and intenational and global issues in our discussion for now – to become a country that can achieve Islam’s ideal guidelines as these guidelines are a desirable and sweet thing for any broad-minded individual. Any person who is interested in thinking and studying will enjoy such an ideal Islamic society.
This is a society in which knowledge, progress, dignity, justice, the power to face global waves, and wealth exist. We have such an image in mind. We call this, “The New Islamic Civilization”. We want our country to reach this point. Now, what role can universities play and what can they do in this regard? First of all, it is necessary for universities to play their part. Second, the question is this: what should be done? What should we do so that we reach this point? Of course, this issue is not the main issue that I want to discuss today because this is not an issue that can be confined to a meeting and speech. Such issues require detailed research work. I only want to point out that our universities should think on this. You, as managers of universities and officials in the higher education system of the country, should think on this. You should set this as the responsibility of universities and you should do planning on this basis so much so that it becomes clear what role universities – with the experience and deep historical root that was pointed out and with the great test that they took in the Revolution – can play for creating this new Islamic civilization and such society and Iran. You should think on it. You should plan all tasks on the basis of this.
I only wish to offer certain recommendations. Of course, the reports that the gentlemen in the meeting delivered – particularly the one that Dr. Farhadi delivered – make one think as if all the things that form our desires and dreams have been attained in universities. Well, this is very good and it shows that there is firm determination. However, we should look at the output as well. I myself have become an experienced person in matters related to reports. Reports are not merely the things that are delivered to me or to the senior manager. They contain certain details and peripheral points that sometimes change the content. If we want to gain a correct understanding about realities, we should look at things from the middle of the arena. Take the case of the report that Dr. Farhadi delivered about science, research, technology parks, religious and ideological measures and the like. They should really look at things from the middle of the arena so that they find out how many of these dreams and reports have been attained in reality. This is important.
Sometimes, we receive certain reports that make one doubt the attainment of these dreams. This is an important point. My recommendations are mostly related to such matters. The points that he or Dr. Hashemi raised are necessary points all of which should be implemented. However, saying that “We want to do this”, “We have issued the order so that it will be done” or “It has been reported that it has been done” is not enough. If we become satisfied with such reports, we will suddenly open our eyes and see that the gap between the reality and what we wanted has widened. My recommendations are about this matter.
I would like to offer certain recommendations in two parts: one part is about matters related to knowledge and the other part is about ideological and moral matters – matters related to human education and building our manpower because manpower is very important. Yesterday, one of the friends who is present in the meeting now – he is a well-informed and competent person – said to me that we are among the first four, five countries in the world in terms of prepared manpower. The countries whose population is two or three times larger than our country do not have as many educated and literate individuals as we do. He said that we have 30 million educated individuals. Of course, the exact number may be different. Well, this is important. This is very important.
If knowledge exists but moves in the wrong channel, the result will be what has been witnessed in the past and in the present time
Now, how do want to channel this manpower? Channeling is very important. If knowledge exists but moves in the wrong channel, the result will be what has been witnessed – in the past and in the present time - in today’s world which is a world of research and scientific progress. Notice that colonialism was a great disaster that befell countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Colonialism was a bizarre phenomenon. What created colonialism? Science. European powers had managed to get access to, for example, automatic firearms a short time sooner than other countries. This helped a country like England – which was a remote island – to dominate a large country like India.
Glimpses of World History
You should go and read “Glimpses of World History”, written by Nehru, to see what has happened to India. Of course, this is not the only book. Many books exist in this regard. Burma – a country that is known today as Myanmar – was the center of wealth, but an English person used to force tens of individuals into working for him by having a side arm only. They did not even dare to breathe! There were many caoutchouc trees and all kinds of precious wood in that country, but they used to be looted by the English.
Such things exist in historical writings. As I said, our society of book readers unfortunately pays little attention to contemporary history. You should read contemporary history to see what happened to India, Burma, Africa and Latin America because of colonialism. You should read this history to see what happened in Algeria, Tunisia and other such countries at the hands of France – this seemingly orderly, neat, chic and polite country – and colonialism. Well, what created such colonialism? Science. When science does not move in the correct direction, it becomes arrogance. They ruined millions of people by using science. Directionless science and science without moral and spiritual logic leads to such consequences.
We need to manage our own system. We need to manage and guide ourselves. We should take care not to let our science move in that direction. When science moves in the wrong direction, it tuns into an atomic bomb. In the present time, the earth has the capacity to change in a dramatic and revolutionary way tens of times. The things that Allah the Exalted has pointed out in the Holy Quran – the events that take place on Judgment Day – can happen through the atomic bombs that are in the possession of America, Russia and some other countries. This is a grave danger for humanity, for civilization, for human begins and for the material and the spiritual. This is because of science. Science sometimes becomes like this. Therefore, we should monitor our scientific apparatus and create a new path for science. What is that path? That path is moral and spiritual construction accompanied by science. So, our recommendations are partly related to scientific issues and partly related to moral issues and issues related to the moral and spiritual construction of our manpower.
When science moves in the wrong direction, it tuns into an atomic bomb.
As for scientific issues, I have written down some points. Of course, we have discussed these points before. I have discussed them many times before and they perhaps existed in the statements of the gentlemen in the meeting. However, I would like to emphasize them here because I feel that there is a need for these things to be discussed and to be realized. One issue is related to beneficial knowledge. We should pursue the kind of knowledge that is necessary and beneficial for the country, not only for the present time, but also for the following 10, 20 years. Twenty years from now, we may have a need that has to be researched into today. If we do not carry out research on it today and if we do not prepare ourselves today, we will be empty-handed at a time when we need it. This need measurement should be carried out and today’s needs should be taken into consideration as well. Seeking, leaning and acquiring knowledge should be done on the basis of benefits and needs.
In the present time, I have been informed that many of the articles that were pointed out in the meeting – which are very large in number – are of no use to the country. The authors have carried out research work, but it is not valuable to the country. Either it is not valuable to anyone or it is only valuable to those foreign companies that have somehow ordered them. Perhaps the author of the article himself does not know who has ordered such an article. They are only beneficial to such companies. This is of no value. Even in the case of PhD theses, I have been informed that if we take an optimistic outlook, only 10 percent of PhD theses are beneficial to the affairs of the country. This is what has been reported to me, but I do not want to say for sure that this is certainly the case.
Well, PhD theses are a provision, a treasure. Students’ theses are really a treasure and a provision for the country. Now, what should the subject of such theses be so that they can be beneficial to the country? This is the first matter. In our narrations too, the issue of beneficial knowledge has been stressed. I remember that many of those university professors who participate in Ramadan meetings – every year, we usually have a meeting with those gentlemen and ladies who are university professors and they come here and deliver a speech - have issued certain wanings about the fact that many pieces of research in our country are not beneficial. I have pointed this out many times as well. So, the first issue is that knowledge should meet both today’s and the future’s needs. You should predict and measure this future so that you can see what we need.
On the issue of nuclear energy, two, three, four years ago, there was an argument. Some people used to say, “What do we, who have a very large amount of oil, want nuclear energy for? This is what the Americans used to say as well. The Americans too used to say, “What does Iran – that has oil in abundance – want nuclear energy for? I said that if we do not work on nuclear energy at all, when we run out of oil in the future, we will have to beg it from this and that. Well, when they have it, but we do not and need it desperately, they will ruin us!
if we do not work on nuclear energy at all, when we run out of oil in the future, we will have to beg it from this and that.
You witnessed what they did to us on the issue of the 20-percent uranium. We needed 20-percent enriched uranium for Tehran research reactor – the small reactor that exists in Tehran and that produces pharmaceuticals for us. We needed it for such things. The fuel was running out and they said it would run out in a few months. However, westeners made a domineering gesture and an arrogant face. They set terms for us that were really humiliating.
I think this happened in the year 1389 or 1390. Of course, in the end, things worked in our favor. When our youth saw that they refused - in an arrogant way - to sell their 20-percent uranium and when they saw that they were playing games with them, they decided to produce the 20-percent uranium on their own. They showed diligence and produced it themselves. And the most difficult part is producing the 20-percent uranium. In uranium enrichment, producing 20-percent uranium out of raw uranium is like a difficult path and an uphill climb, but from 20 percent until 99 percent, the path is smooth. It is easy for a person who attains 20 percent to attain 50, 80, 90 percent. This is why they became agitated. Well, they had this coming and we do not care because they could have sold it to us so that we would not go after producing it on our own.
I said before that if we did not have oil and if they had it and we needed it, they would sell it to us in bottles. Now, we sell it in barrels and in tons and we sell it at a cheap price. However, if we needed this black oil, they would sell it to us in bottles. This is how things are. The day when we need nuclear energy because of lack of oil or because of the emergence of a problem in this area – for example, if the price of oil goes down so much that it will no more be worth producing it – what should we do then? In the present time, you witness that oil has become cheap very easily. Under such circumstances, we need nuclear energy. Where should we get it from? Who will give it to us? This may happen in 5, 10, 15 years. Therefore, we should think about it from now. You should constantly think and carry out need measurement for the present time and the future. If this happens, then knowledge becomes beneficial, one that is valuable for meeting such needs. This is one point that I deemed necessary to discuss.
Our scientific achievements
Another point is about the rate of our progress. Some research centers in the world have announced that Iran is 17th or 19th in the world. This is correct. They are saying this and we are moving forward in the arena of knowledge. And we are very proud of it. Anyone who denies it will make us unhappy and upset because of their denial. I would like to say in parentheses that some people who are academics themselves unfortunately deliver discouraging speeches in universities. They say that our scientific achievements are a lie! Well, what is a lie? A Zionist research center is expressing its concen at Iran’s scientific progress. This has been published throughout the world. This is no longer about what we say. He whom you trust – the Zionist regime – is saying this. At least, you should trust him. They say, this is not the case, the scientific achievements that they are speaking about are not true.
Without a doubt, our scientific achievements exist and they enjoy a good rate of progress. However, we are still very behind despite our achievements. We ourselves should not forget that we are very behind. They kept us backward for many years. The new technologies in America began 130, 140 years ago. From the end of the Civil War in America – beginning from 1860 and ending in 1864, 1865 – to that point, the Americans used to import such technologies from Europe. From then on, they managed to stand on their own feet and they began developing new technologies. Very well, they are 150 years ahead of us. They are 130, 140 years ahead of us. This is how science works.
When you take one step forward, your speed will increase in the second step. I have given this example many times. I said that take the case of two people who are walking together. One of them finds a bicycle and he will naturally overtake you at a certain distance. Then, when he overtakes you with a bicycle, he finds a car and only then you find a bicycle. At the moment you find a bicycle, he has found a car and a car is several times faster than a bicycle. This is how he overtakes you. His speed will continuously increase and the distance will constantly increase as well. This distance exists. We should attach great significance to this rate of progress.
Of course, the thing that astonished the world was our rate of progress. They said that the Islamic Republic’s rate of progress in the area of science – its scientific rate of progress – is 13 times faster than the global average. Thirteen times! And it was correct. Of course, in the present time, I do not know the figure. This figure is related to three, four years ago. These facts have been announced by the same intenational research centers, not by us. So, we should preserve this rate of progress. If our scientific progress gets out of its orbit and if this rate of progress stops, then it is not clear what will happen. We will fall behind. Therefore, the rate of our scientific progress is very important.
Another issue is the issue of research. Research is very important. Of course, we have a number of research centers and they are good, but universities themselves should be research-based. Universities should build research centers so that they themselves become research-based. It is alright if they exist outside universities. Research centers can exist outside universities, but universities themselves should become research-based. This is another point.
Research centers can exist outside universities, but universities themselves should become research-based.
Another issue is the issue of the comprehensive scientific plan. Well, after different peaks and troughs, this plan was ratified, announced and implemented, but we should implement the comprehensive scientific plan in its important components. This is one of those issues that until you do not go the middle of the arena and do field observation, you will not be able to determine what extent of the plan has been implemented. What fields of knowledge have a priority? How many students are necessary for those fields that have a high priority and for those that have a low priority? All these things should be specified for us by the comprehensive scientific plan. What fields in which areas of the country should receive attention on the basis of needs?
Well, this naturally requires planning by the Ministry of Science. The Ministry of Science should have planning for itself so that it can know what it needs and where it needs them. In the reports that the friends and the honorable ministers delivered, they spoke about making universities mission-based. This is a very good thought. I stress that this should be done, but this has certain requirements. How can a university become mission-based in such and such a distant or nearby city or such and such a capital of a province? These are things whose details should be clarified for us by the comprehensive scientific plan.
Higher education and employment
Another issue that we should discuss is the issue of the quality of higher education. We have had good achievements in terms of quantity, but there are certain shortcomings in the area of quality. Standards should be identified for quality. Of course, these standards exist in the world, but they are not necessarily compatible with our needs. Some of the standards in the world are good, but some of them are not compatible with our needs and with the realities of our country. The officials of the Ministry of Science themselves should sit and identify standards for the improvement of quantity.
We have had good achievements in terms of quantity, but there are certain shortcomings in the area of quality.
Another issue – I have to make these points concise – is the issue of our graduates’ employment. One of the ways for creating employment for our graduates is the issue of the relationship between industries and universities. Industries and universities should connect with one another. This is both good for industries and for universities. In the case of universities, it is both good for the management and for students. This has not become well-established in the country yet. I am aware of the measures that have been adopted some of which were announced by Dr. Farhadi. For example, on the issue of the defense system of the country – an area in which I am directly involved – there has been good cooperation with different universities. They have signed some contracts and good tasks are being carried out, but these are not enough.
I have heard – not seen – that in some countries, the owners of industries participate in students’ thesis presentation sessions and they listen to it. From that very moment, they sign a contract with them. In other words, they snatch prepared graduates. Our industries too should pay attention to this issue. Of course, this requires hard work. This requires the activity of ministers in the administration. They should sit and speak to the officials of industries and the officials in private and public sectors. They should do something to develop cooperation – in the real and true sense of the word and in a comprehensive manner – between universities and industries. And this is not particular to industries. Different managerial divisions in private and public sectors need academic research. This should be done everywhere. This is another issue.
The economy of resistance
Another issue is about playing one’s part in the economy of resistance whose basis is knowledge-based economy. Of course, we have said many things in this regard and the friends in the meeting have spoken about it as well. Others have discussed it too, but what should happen in practice has not happened yet. I should say that I have just received executive officials’ report about plans to implement the economy of resistance. It is just a few days that I have received it! In other words, we are still far away from what should happen – in practice – in the area of the economy of resistance. You in universities can play your role in this regard. You should go and find your share of the work and then you should carry it out in the real sense of the word.
The economy of resistance is a knowledge-based economy.
These were related to scientific issues. Of course, there are different other issues as well that I have pointed out many times. You too know them, but repeating them is useful.
The second part is about universities’ cultural work. Some people have confused cultural work in universities with sexually integrated concerts and camps. They think that this is cultural work! They say that students should be happy. Being happy is good for every environment, but how should this be attained? At what price? What benefits did westeners reap from the [sexual] association of boys and girls so much so that we reap the same benefits?
One day, they used to say to us that there is no hijab in Europe – at that time, they used to speak about Europe – that men and women socialize with one another and that sexual temptation and enthusiasm is naturally controlled there. In the present time, take a look and see if this is really the case. Is temptation controlled or provoked there? So many sexual crimes are being committed in America and in Europe. And at the moment, they are not satisfied with the opposite sex either! And the situation will become much worse than this. Islam knows human beings and that is why it has issued the decree of hijab and the segregation of men and women. Islam knows you and me. Humans belong to God and He is our Creator. What does “mixed camps” mean? [They speak about] mixed mountain-climbing and mixed camps, sometimes even out of the country! Cultural work is of a different essence and meaning. The officials of cultural affairs in universities should understand what they are doing.
The cultural work of universities should be carried out in a way that religious and revolutionary individuals with good behavior are built. Cultural work is what can provide these things. Correct cultural work is what can teach our youth to be revolutionaries. Our country has carried out a Revolution and we should stand by it. We should set the principles of this Revolution as the main principles of our life so that we can move forward. Our students should believe in ideals, love their country – they should really love their country – and their system and enjoy insight and religious and political depth.
We should set the principles of this Revolution as the main principles of our life so that we can move forward.
Our youth should have a deep religious and political outlook so that they do not slip up with any small falsehood or do not make a mistake in the area of political matters. Many of the individuals who slipped up during the fitna of the year 1388 were not bad people, but they slipped up because of lack of insight. When you see someone say, “The elections are just an excuse. The main target is the essence of the system” then what should you do? What should you - who believe in the system and you who are prepared to lay down your life for the system and its survival – do when you see some people chant such slogans? This is because of lack of insight and lack of knowledge about one’s duty at the time of need.
Individuals should be taught to be self-confident, motivated and full of hope. Those who said that despair is the greatest loss are right. Individuals should not be hopeless. They should be hopeful about the future of the country. And there is a lot of room for hope, not for despair, because of all these capacities. On that day [Supreme Leader’s speech in meeting with President Rouhani and cabinet members, August 26, 2015] – one, two months ago – I said this and all the gentlemen in the meeting confirmed it. I said that the growth rate of such and such a European country is said to be one, one and a half percent – and this is not a strange thing – and we expect our growth rate to be eight, nine percent. This expectation exists because of the fact that they have used all their capacities and that they have no vacant capacities left, but ours are left untapped. Therefore, we can achieve a 10-percent growth rate. These capacities should be utilized. All of them should be utilized. So, is there not any room for hope in a country that has so many capacities?
The condition of the country
You should teach individuals to have a correct understanding about the condition of the country. They should know in what condition the country is. The whole world is saying that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a powerful country – our enemies and friends say this in different ways. However, one mister delivers a speech in such and such a place saying, “We are nobodies. We are nothing. We are isolated.” He feels inferior to others. If he feels inferior, why does he consider the people as inferior to others as well? Why does he consider the Islamic Republic and the country as inferior? This inferiority and feeling of subordination is a very dangerous thing. The whole world is saying that Iran is a lovely and powerful country. They complain that Iran has influenced and engulfed everywhere, but this mister inside the country says in a newspaper, in a speech or in such and such a university – addressing students – that we are nothing and that we are nobodies.
You should teach individuals to believe in independence – intellectual, political, cultural and economic independence. The youth who are trained through cultural work should believe, in the real sense of the word, in the independence of their country. They should believe in the principles of the Revolution and the system and in Islamic culture. They should be optimistic and high-spirited. This is cultural work. Of course, this is not an easy task, rather it is a very difficult one and it requires planning.
Of course, the news that I receive about some of our universities does not show this. You should do something to help religious, revolutionary, high-spirited, motivated, dignified and pious youth take affairs in their hands. This is one of your greatest responsibilities: you should do something to help these religious groups of people – who have complete faith in the Revolution and in Islam – play a leading role and take the environment in their hands. This is one of your responsibilities.
I love universities
Dear brothers and sisters of mine, dear academics, you should pay attention to the fact that I love universities. Since long ago, I have believed in and have been interested in universities. You should know that universities and students are the target of the greatest plots today. They are intimidated by the fact that we can have universities whose students and professors enter the arena with a revolutionary and offensive spirit, break the red lines that the enemies have created for them, move forward, help the country progress, raise the flag of knowledge and highlight revolutionary slogans. They are formulating plans and spending a huge amount of money so that this does not happen. They are planning a roadmap for their future domination. Colonialism – in its old shape – is not practical today. And the thing that they referred to as “neocolonialism” has become outdated gradually. What is necessary for them and what they pursue is to make active, intelligent and outstanding elements in a country think about achieving their goals. They are investing in and spending money on this. So, these concens should receive attention.
You should know that universities and students are the target of the greatest plots today.
We have good ideological professors. Fortunately, we have thousands of religious, revolutionary and enthusiastic professors. They were present in the past as well. We had such university professors during the Sacred Defense Era as well, but today, the number of such pious and revolutionary professors is thankfully several times larger than those days. They should be appreciated. I hope that Allah the Exalted will bestow on us and on you the blessing to carry out such tasks.
Our time is over. Today, we spoke a lot to you and you too listened very well. When I witnessed that the audience is attentive – we thankfully felt that all of you were attentive and listened carefully – I spoke a lot. Of course, what I had written down was more than what I discussed, but there is no more time.
I ask Allah the Exalted to help all of you succeed and to shower His blessings on you. I hope that the responsibilities that you have today – as heads of universities, as university professors and as officials in the headquarters of different ministries, in the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, in the Majlis and in different councils- these are numerous and different responsibilities that each of you has – will be a source of pride for you before God.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy