Meeting with Participants of 9th Elite Youth Conference

Leader's speech in meeting with participants of 9th Elite Youth Conference

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on October 14, 2015 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the participants of 9th Elite Youth Conference. The meeting was held in Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad and upon his immaculate household.

  Human resources; the greatest wealth of the Islamic Republic


The real wealth of a country is its human resources particularly if it is young and intelligent.

First of all, I would like to welcome you dear youth. Meeting with you is really a source of energy and hope for people like me. When we see young, prepared, determined and talented faces, the hope that Allah the Exalted has thankfully planted in our hearts and that has increased on a daily basis begins to bear fruit. I hope that all you and all the youth of the country will benefit from divine guidance and grace so that you can, God willing, be beneficial to the future of the country and - at the next stage - for the future of humanity.

There is a widely discussed idea about which we do not want to speak at length in this meeting and that is the great wealth of our human resources. The real wealth of a country is its human resources particularly if it is young and intelligent. In the speeches that I have delivered in recent years, I have repeatedly spoken about the high intelligence of the Iranians compared to the global average. Some people thought that I did so out of a feeling of nationalism, patriotism and the like while this was not the case. I had reliable statistics about this matter. In the last two, three years, we fortunately heard well-known personalities in the world - even politicians and the enemies of the people of Iran - acknowledge the high intelligence of the people of Iran on different occasions: "The merits that the enemy bears witness to" [speaking in Arabic]. The intelligence of Iranians is higher than the global average. Well, we thankfully have many youth. This is a great wealth. It is a very valuable asset and it is an opportunity for the country.

Of course, it is not the case that all countries and governments in the world consider the existence of youth as an opportunity. For example, the Pahlavi regime did not consider the presence and movement of youth as an opportunity, rather it considered it to be a threat. This is one of those issues for which one can present reliable statistics, but there is no time to discuss this matter in the meeting. They did not want youth to show their presence, either scientific, political or social presence. Many ideas used to be promoted in order to undermine this presence. They really considered youth as a threat.

They sent abroad as many outstanding personalities as they could so that those whom they considered to be competent individuals leave the country. This is not the case in the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic is reliant on itself. It is reliant on the inside. It seeks power through itself, through its spirituality and through its own existence. Therefore, the greatest wealth of the Islamic Republic is, in fact, its human resources - these intelligent, committed, enthusiastic, studious and promising youth. This is one of our indisputable realities.

The blessing of revolution


Revolution came and turned the tables. It gave personality, identity and courage to the Iranians.

Today that we have a meeting with a number of good youth of our country, I would like to offer some words of fatherly advice. You are like my children. Some of you are like my children and some of you are like my grandchildren. Therefore, I deem it necessary to raise certain points with you. I also have some managerial and occupational recommendations for you. I will discuss them with you as well. These recommendations are about jobs and professions related to you youth. I also have a warning and a grave concern. I will discuss it with you as well if - God willing - there is enough time.

As for those fatherly words of advice, the first one is that you should consider your gift - being an exceptional personality - as something that originates from God. This is God's blessing. It is a divine gift. It is a blessing that God has bestowed on you and therefore, you should thank Him. You should strengthen your relationship with God. You should be thankful to Allah the Exalted and you should express it when you speak to Him. This will increase your achievements and the blessings that He has bestowed on you. You should consider these blessings as things that originate from God and the Revolution. This is also one outlook and one layer of thinking about this gift.

The great public movement of the country on the path of knowledge is one of the blessings of the Revolution. If the Revolution did not exist, these blessings would not exist either. Mr. Sattari quoted one of my memories in this meeting. The rest of the story is that all those airplanes that were supposed to be completely destroyed in 30, 31 days - according to what they said - are still working. Today, 30-plus years have passed from that day. Our youth in the Air Force and other technical forces showed determination and entered the arena. Mr. Sattari father [Air Force General Shahid Sattari] himself was one of these youth. They used their miraculous hands, minds and thoughts and the result was that those planes that they said would be completely destroyed worked until the end of the war. And the same planes are still working in the present time. The same A-330s, F-14s, F-4s and F-5s are still working today. It was the Revolution that created the miracle of these hands. Those brothers who used to say to us, "It's all over" were good individuals and some of them were martyred, but they did not have a revolutionary mentality. Their mentality came from pre-revolutionary thinking and they looked at things with that outlook.

When they wanted to fix different pieces of our planes [during the Pahlavi regime], they were not allowed to take apart composite pieces - a large piece that is made of, for example, 40, 50 smaller pieces. They used to send it to America by plane, replace it there and then return it to the country. In other words, Iranian air force officers and technical officers were not allowed to touch this piece, to see what it is made of and how it should work. This was the pre-revolutionary mentality.

But the Revolution came and turned the tables. It gave personality, identity and courage to the Iranians. It encouraged them to employ their inner power and the result is that we have come 15th - in terms of science - among all these countries in the world. It is a very great achievement for post-revolutionary Iran - before the Revolution, Iran was nothing - to achieve this rank despite the pressure of war, sanctions and all these problems and despite the existence of 200 countries some of which have a two, three hundred experience in industry and scientific work.

You should consider these capabilities and this "achieving whatever you want" to come from the Revolution and from those people who have ensured the security of our country. You witnessed that when the body of Shahid Hamedani - who was martyred a few days ago - was transferred to Hamedan, the entire city participated in his burial ceremony. This is a sign of gratitude. Such individuals are usually not well-known. Some of them are famous and well-known, but most of them are not. However, they are providing security for us. If security does not exist, there will be no university, no research and no cultivation of outstanding personalities. In those places where security does not exist, nothing actually exists. In such places, the lives of individuals are subject to minute-by-minute and permanent threats. You should consider this preparedness, this education and these opportunities as things that come from the providers of security. This is my first piece of advice. You should accept this as a word of advice from an old father to you dear youth and you should keep it in mind.

Yes to the spirit of jihad and no to the spirit of superiority

The second piece of advice is that you should prefer the spirit of jihad to the spirit of superiority. One of the dangers for those individuals who have a privilege is that they might feel they are superior to and different from others. They might feel that they are superior to others to a great extent. This is a grave danger. This is a personality danger, a personality disease. You should not allow this disease to grow inside you and the way to do so is to strengthen jihadi spirit and work in yourselves. "Jihadi spirit" means carrying out tasks for the sake of God, considering work as one's duty and bringing all of your forces to the arena on the path of a righteous cause. This is jihadi spirit.

In order to strengthen this jihadi spirit in yourselves, your presence in jihadi camps will be very good. You should not say that your time will be wasted in such camps because this is the best way of using your time. This way, you can use your time to the maximum amount. You should study your lessons, carry out your research and do your tasks, but you should also participate in jihadi camps that last for a few weeks per year because they will help you become familiar with the people and with the problems and maladies of society which officials usually fail to see. Some officials are not aware of the realities of society. They only see their surrounding environment and a limited radius around themselves. They are not at all aware of what is happening in villages, in remote cities and in poor families. I have frequently witnessed this throughout this long 20, 30-year experience. I have witnessed this in some people. This is why I am saying this to you dear ones. They are not aware of what is happening.

By participating in jihadi camps you will be directly in touch with the people and you will gain a sense of responsibility. When you render services in a direct way, then rendering services will become dear to you and you will find the existing weak points.

In the present time, you are young, energetic and patient. You have enough time and you do not have many preoccupations. Therefore, you should benefit from this opportunity. These jihadi camps are one of the best opportunities. They are much better than the camps that are still common, unfortunately. Despite the fact that I have issued warnings, some people create camps to send individuals to Europe. They organize student camps in Europe! This is one of the most erroneous measures. Such jihadi camps are much better, nobler and more beneficial than those camps. By participating in jihadi camps you will be directly in touch with the people and you will gain a sense of responsibility. When you render services in a direct way, then rendering services will become dear to you and you will find the existing weak points.

Brain Drain

I want to offer another piece of advice. One of the things that happens to our outstanding personalities is migration. As was pointed out, there are many countries in the world who want our outstanding personalities and there are different reasons for this. One of the reasons is that in those countries, there are few youth or there are few talented youth or there are few foreign youth who are not greedy. This is why they want to attract such youth. Under such circumstances, a delusion of welfare might occupy one's mind. This feeling of welfare might be delusional and it might be real. A real welfare might await one in such countries, but you should prefer your country to others. Instead of of being digested in the cruel stomach of foreign societies, you should become builders and regulators of the brain, nervous system and skeleton of your own society. This is a source of honor and pride. You should work for your own country. You can build your own country and eliminate its shortcomings.

We have many shortcomings. I have said many good things about the condition of the country, but perhaps there are very few people who are as well-informed as I am about the shortcomings of the country. We know that we have many shortcomings and we should eliminate them. It is you who should eliminate them. You can be the ones who design the right geometry for the health of this country. You can move part of it forward. When you go to another country, you will be digested in the greedy stomach of foreign societies even if you earn some money and even if you have welfare there assuming that it exists. But here, you can be a source of influence.

Technological advances and intimidation

The last piece of advice - I do not want to lengthen this part - is that you should not be intimidated by the west. Although it is true that today westerners are much ahead of us in terms of science and technology, you should not be intimidated by this. Why? Because you are better than them. That country that has an advanced technology, industry and that has different inventions and the like has begun its movement two hundred years ago, but you have begun this movement 35 years ago. Your Revolution is 35 years old. In the course of 35 years, you have managed to walk all this way and to achieve this rate of progress in the area of achievements. They were behind you during the first 35 years after their independence.

An example is America. America was nothing 35 years after its independence from the yoke of the English. There is a world of difference between America 35, 40 years after its independence and Iran 35 years after the victory of the Revolution. You are way ahead of them. It will take you a much shorter time to achieve this level of material civilization. And we have not even included spirituality from this discussion! Therefore, you should not be intimidated by them.

It was 100 years after the victory of the Americans over the English army and the independence of America that the well-known Statue of Liberty was built. And it was not the Americans who built it if my memory serves me right. I read in the past that it was a French engineer who came from France and built it. In other words, 100 years after their independence, the Americans had barely reached the point in the area of science, technology and industry to build this Statue of Liberty. A French engineer came from France and designed and built this statue. So, you are way ahead of them and you should not be intimidated. Potentially, you have much more capabilities than they do. You should advance and move forward.

The young generation of our time - you - can record for itself the honor of being a young generation that managed to help the country reach great levels of scientific progress. This honor is a great one. Today's young generation can record for itself the honor of strengthening the bases of scientific independence and progress in the country and working in a diligent manner instead of following others in an imitative manner. This honor can be achieved for the young generation of our time and the young generation during the early years of the Revolution. These are our words of advice to you dear ones, brothers, sisters, dear children of mine and dear youth.

Universities and the professors

I also have some managerial and occupational recommendations. These recommendations are addressed to brothers in charge of the Elite Foundation, to brothers in the Deputy of Scientific Affairs and to you yourselves. The first recommendation is that the Elite Foundation should be taken seriously. The Elite Foundation is a national foundation. It is a strategic foundation and therefore, it should be taken seriously in a complete manner. I have heard that some of the duties of the Elite Foundation are entrusted to universities. This is not in the interest of the country. If universities had been able to carry out the duties of the Elite Foundation, we would not have established the Elite Foundation at all. Some of our universities are really outstanding. They are centers of cultivating outstanding personalities, but they cannot carry out the duties of the Elite Foundation. Universities have duties that are different from the duties of the Elite Foundation. You should take the Elite Foundation seriously because it is a national and a strategic foundation. The officials of this foundation, the officials of the country, the Planning and Budget Organization, the honorable ministers in charge of such affairs, scientific councils and you youth should take it seriously. This foundation is very important.

I have a second recommendation as well. The plans of the Elite Foundation should be formulated in a way that young outstanding personalities feel useful. Later on, I will speak about the role of you youth in this regard as well. You yourselves have certain roles and you can play your part in this area. The ground should be prepared for young outstanding personalities to work. They should feel useful. They should have this feeling. This is what encourages them to continue their path as it encourages them to stay home - in their own country - and to work for their own country. You should create an arena of work. What kind of arena should you create? One issue is related to the completion of the educational process. Youth should be able to complete their educational process. Their presence in higher educational levels should be facilitated. There may be some awkward and problematic rules in this regard. Such rules and regulations should not prevent them [from completing their education].

One issue is about establishing knowledge-based companies. Later on, I will expand on this issue. Knowledge-based companies are very good. Of course, I know that there are thousands of knowledge-based companies in the country, but the number of the existing companies can increase by 10 times. Their number can increase by 10 times! The existence of youth and those people who have scientific products can be useful and valuable in knowledge-based companies.

Another issue is creating scientific nuclei in universities pivoting around outstanding university professors. This is one of the tasks. The Elite Foundation can carry out this task in cooperation with universities. Scientific nuclei should be formed in different universities and the pivot should be one or several outstanding professors. Of course, such university professors should be sympathetic and committed and they should love Iran. We know certain professors - of course, I know them from afar - that do not love Iran. The development and future of Iran is not important to them. So, such professors do not serve the purpose. In my heart, I cannot pin my hopes on such professors. Those professors who do not love their country and the unity of their country and those professors who bring up matters that are not related to student lessons, that lead to tribal discord in the country and that propel students into participating in it are not ideal professors.

Those professors who bring up matters that lead to tribal discord in the country and that propel students into participating in it are not ideal professors.

A professor who shows hostility towards students if he senses religious commitment in them is not a good professor. If scientific nuclei are created around the pivot of committed and sympathetic professors who love their country and their Revolution and who are scientifically outstanding, this is a very beneficial thing because it helps students move forward and students feel that they are valuable and that they are moving forward.

Another issue is about scientific congresses. After all, young outstanding personalities should find the opportunity to show their talents. They should feel that their existence has been noticed, that they are shown respect and that they are counted on. They should feel this in practice. Next, primarily the Elite Foundation and secondly other organizations should observe the output because if there is something wrong with the output, it is evident that there is a problem in the middle of the process. They should identify and cure the flaws. This is one of my most important recommendations.

The economy of resistance

Another recommendation that I have in this regard is related to the economy of resistance. Well, you know that the economy of resistance - which was thankfully brought up and whose policies were announced - was welcomed by economic, political and other experts. The name of the economy of resistance is frequently mentioned. Now, I do not want to speak about the extent of its progress in the country. Of course, I am not satisfied with the amount of progress that this important thought and foundation has made in the country, but there is a movement anyway. A firm base of the economy of resistant is knowledge-based economy. The basis of work in the economy of resistance is knowledge-based economy.

The economy of resistance is an economy that grows from the inside. It is an economy that has firm bases inside the country and that does not tremble with international and economic fluctuations. This is the economy of resistance which is a resistant economy. One of the most important bases of this economy is knowledge-based economy, one that is reliant on knowledge. This is very important. In my opinion, young outstanding personalities can play a role in knowledge-based economy which is, in fact, the main foundation of the economy of resistance.

How can they play a role? Well, this requires planning and designing. How can our youth play a role in the economy of resistance? I want you to answer this question. You should sit and plan. You should not wait for others to plan it for you. You young outstanding personalities should address this issue - how young outstanding personalities can play their part in the economy of resistance or in knowledge-based economy - in your meetings. Certain groups should be formed to work on and to think and study about this issue. They should participate in these meetings while they are completely prepared and they should offer roadmaps. Then, the Elite Foundation should support and advocate the plan that has been produced by outstanding personalities. In my opinion, if this is done, a great transformation will be brought about, both in the area of thinking and working and in the area of reality and fieldwork. In the area of the economy too, a great transformation will certainly be brought about.

An alarming situation and a danger


In my opinion, there is an alarming situation and a danger: we have discouraging elements inside the country. You should be careful. Officials should be careful as well. How do they discourage? They do so by denying assets and achievements.

Another point - the last one - is the issue of identifying and cultivating superior talents in the educational system. As was pointed out, the "Shahab Project" is a good project. I have heard that this project has been ignored and neglected. You should not allow this to happen and you should pursue it. Identifying superior talents in primary and secondary schools is very important. This is something that can introduce real outstanding personalities to us. This is something that can introduce geniuses to us.

Well, geniuses in any society are few in number. There are many geniuses whose existence becomes completely useless because of failure to be discovered. They are completely digested and they fade away because they have not been discovered. Sometimes, one sees that an illiterate person in a village says something that shows genius. If this person had been trained and discovered and if his talent had been employed and taken into account, he would have become an outstanding individual, but unfortunately, he has not been discovered. We should not allow the country to suffer this loss. This is a very important task during the time when one goes to school. Therefore, you should pursue this project. The honorable Minister [of Education] should really examine the condition of the Shahab Project in order to see whether it is carrying out its duties or not.

In my opinion, there is an alarming situation and a danger: we have discouraging elements inside the country. You should be careful. Officials should be careful as well. How do they discourage? They do so by denying assets and achievements. The scientific centers that introduce the indicators of scientific progress in the world are specific centers which are familiar to all of you. They have testified something in favor of the Islamic Republic, but their excellencies in the country deny these achievements either in newspapers and magazines or in formal and informal podiums. They refer to these achievements as "illusions". We sometimes hear them say so. These are not illusions, rather they are realities. Stem cells are a reality, our advanced nanotechnology is a reality, our nuclear achievements are a reality. The whole world knows this, but they deny them.

If one day in the past - 15, 16 years ago - someone denied them, there would be no problem because the work had just begun and they were not aware of them. But today, the whole world - those centers that should know - knows that Iran is moving forward on the road of science and technology with a great and rapid movement. The whole world knows this. In such circumstances, some people discourage our youth. They discourage them about the present time and the future. They say, "What is the use of this? For whom and for what do you do this?" Such statements are discouraging. This is treason. Anyone who does so has committed an act of treason. If a manager does so, it is treason. If a professor and writer in a newspaper and magazine do so, it is treason as well. It is treason to the country and treason to national honor.

Another danger is identifying outstanding personalities for foreign agents. This exists as well. I have received certain reports about this matter. I have received certain news in this regard. They search and look for outstanding personalities, not with the purpose of encouraging and training them to work for the country, rather with the purpose of introducing them to foreign agents. They want to become an intermediary link for the migration of outstanding personalities. This is commonly referred to as "brain drain". This is treason as well. It is treason although it may be disguised in the form of sympathy and concern for students, but this is not sympathy. If we encourage students to leave the country and say to them, "What is this place? Who attends to you here? Who pays attention to you here? You should go and live there so that you can move forward and make progress" this is treason. This is turning one's back on the country and its interests and future. This is forcing a young outstanding personality into leaving the country.

One of the warnings that our honorable ministers should really pay attention to is the issue of confronting religious and revolutionary individuals in universities. There are certain individuals who are committed to the Revolution. They adhere to the Revolution, to religious issues and to religious appearance. If some people from among officials - students themselves have different tastes and it is alright if there is an argument between them and such arguments are not significant because the environment of universities is such an environment - if professors and administrators confront such individuals, youth, boys and girls, this is not acceptable. Religious individuals should be encouraged. Such issues exist.

The point behind all these statements is optimism - one for which there is clear evidence - about the future. This is not a mere slogan and a gesture with the purpose of showing-off, rather it is a reality. By Allah's favor and grace, the future of the country will be a good future. There are many outstanding personalities in the heart of our country's large society of youth. Such outstanding personalities are mainly formed by academic personalities, but there are other outstanding personalities in other areas as well. Although they are not academic, they are outstanding in the real sense of the word and they can play a role. These outstanding personalities will do their job because they have a sense of responsibility.

Thankfully, revolutionary goals and slogans are alive. The enemy has failed to undermine revolutionary slogans. Even if some people do not believe in these slogans in their heart, they have to support them in words because of public opinion and because of the people's hearts and presence. In the present time, there is such a condition. Slogans are thankfully alive. The revolutionary movement is a lively movement and this is one of history's exceptional cases. We know no revolution in the world that has managed - in the course of 30, 40 years - to continue its straight line and straight path despite all these oppositions and enmities. Such a revolution does not exist elsewhere. Even the great revolutions that you know in the world - we have nothing to do with those small developments, coup d'états and the like that are referred to as revolutions and we do not take them into account at all - and the real revolutions that have been carried out have failed to continue their path because their goals have changed.

This is what has made our enemies angry. This is why you frequently hear - if you listen to foreign news - them say, "As long as Iran is after its Revolution, it is difficult for us to deal with Iran." They are right. And I would like to add that as long as this revolutionary thinking and movement exists, Iran's progress, increasing influence and spiritual and psychological ascendancy in the region and even beyond that will - by Allah's favor - increase on a daily basis [audience chants, "Allahu Akbar"]. Thank you very much! Apparently, this takbir was an announcement to me that I should finish my speech [audience laughs].

I hope that God will preserve you. I hope that - by Allah's favor - the existence of all of you will be valuable for the future of the Revolution. I hope that - God willing - in 30, 40, 50 years - when the country is in your hands and when it belongs to you - you will speak of these days with pride as they have helped you to move on this line and to be steadfast. God willing, success will be bestowed on you with a better future.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings