Imam Khamenei

Universities should train students to be optimistic about the future of the country

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on June 10, 2018 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with university professors, outstanding personalities and academic researchers. The meeting was held on the 25th day of the holy month of Ramadan.

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 pure household
You are very welcome, dear brothers, dear sisters. Thankfully, today's meeting was very good considering the statements that the friends in the meeting  the 13 individuals who delivered speeches  made. One of the points that I have written down is that the universities of the country should be involved in the issues and challenges of the country and this was manifested in this meeting. This is my definite word of advice and by Allah's favor, I might discuss this matter briefly later on. 
I witnessed that the professors who spoke in this meeting addressed and paid attention to most of the fundamental issues and challenges of the country. For example, the issue of the cinema  which is an important issue  the issue of the Bar-Jaam, the issue of water and the issue of social detriments were addressed in this meeting. The points that the gentlemen in the meeting raised contained these issues. And this is what I advise as well. The issue of scientific diplomacy and the issue of water  which is a very important issue  were discussed by the gentlemen in the meeting. Other issues include innovation  which I might refer to as well  the economy and other such issues. 
Well, such discussions are thankfully good. When I compare this year's meeting with the meetings which were held seven, eight, ten years ago, I see that there is a radical difference. This shows that the academic society has launched a progressing intellectual and motivational movement in recent years. I see that today, the movement, the feelings, the motivations, the efforts and the concerns of the academic society have improved compared to 10, 15 years ago. This is a very important point. 
Of course, I do not want to claim that the present gathering in our meeting represent the whole academic society, but after all, they are samples of that society. They are proof that this way of thinking and this sentiment exists in the academic society. Of course, there is little time. I had prepared myself for more time, but I have to make my statements brief. 
Dear brothers, dear sisters, universities are very important centers. I am saying this based on a deep and heartfelt belief and I have reasons for saying so. Why is that? It is because universities are one of the important centers for cultivating the intellectual faculty of the country. They are in charge of cultivating the intellectual faculty of the country. And no country is able to manage itself and to make progress without an intellectual faculty. Notice that these two introductions lead to one conclusion and that is the fact that good universities are vital for every country. 
Well, university professors have an extraordinary role in universities. In the process of building and cultivating the intellectual faculty for the management of the country, university professors have a special role. Therefore, the position of university professors is very important, valuable and sensitive. It is a sensitive position. If universities wish to play this role  the role of creating and cultivating the intellectual faculty of the country  correctly, there are certain requirements which they should definitely pay attention to. I have written down three requirements which I will explain briefly:
One requirement is getting involved in the issues of the country. Universities should not think that they are separate from the issues of the country. The issues and challenges of the country should be real, true and fundamental issues for universities.
The second requirement is the cultural, moral and identity-based cultivation of students. The issue of moral education is more important than scientific education. And this should be done with a moral and spiritual orientation, with a spiritual delicacy and sensitivity and by reviving a sense of identity in all young students.
The third requirement is a continuous change in the academic environment. There should be a continuous and permanent change in the academic environment. The first reason for this is that all associations in the world need to change. This is because humans are constantly changing, progressing and moving forward. So, all human associations should enable themselves to change in a constant manner and this should be a serious concern for them. Secondly, to put it frankly, the foundations of our universities are faulty. The foundations have been faulty from the beginning. 
This does not mean that the academic environment is a wrong or bad environment. This is not the case. Fortunately, our universities have yielded good outputs, but the foundations of our universities have been built by untrustworthy people and with untrustworthy policies during the time of the taghuti regime and this structure has prevailed until today. They established universities on the basis of purging religion. They established universities on the basis of scientific imitation  not scientific innovation and production. Universities have been established like this and some of the consequences of this have continued until today. 
Therefore, there is a need for an internal reform, transformation and change in universities, one that is continuous and permanent. I have written down examples of such change which I will discuss later on. These were the three requirements. Of course, there are other requirements as well.
The next issue is about universities' involvement in the issues of the country, examples of which we fortunately witnessed today. I really became happy to see that our brothers and sisters discussed these matters. I am really thankful to God because our expectations fortunately exist in the minds of at least some of our dear academic personalities. Why do we say that universities should be involved in the issues of the country? Well, every country has certain issues. Today, we have some problems and issues. In the future too, we will have certain problems. All countries and societies in the world are like this. They have certain problems that need to be resolved. 
Problems should be solved in a scientific manner. If we tackle these problems in a non-scientific, non-managerial, ill-advised and unintelligent manner, they will not be resolved, rather they will become more complicated and they will continue and increase in number. So, problems should be resolved in a scientific manner. Well, if they are to be resolved in a scientific manner, who should resolve them? Scientists and scholars  in other words, academic personalities, who are among the scientists of the country and who form the main part of the scientists of the country. Therefore, universities should consider the issues of the country as their own issues and they should seek solutions for them.
For example, one of the issues of our country in the present time is the issue of the economy. It has been said many times  it was also said in this meeting  that some of our managerial methods in the economy, what is being practiced in the country, are poor and wrong. Well, these methods should be remedied. Who should remedy them? Who should attend to this issue? Universities. I have advised high-ranking officials several times to collect the economic opinions published in newspapers by economists in universities  the opinions that are published in newspapers: I often read such opinions  so that they know there are viewpoints other than the ones which exist inside governmental organizations. These viewpoints are helpful. Looking at and hearing these opinions are naturally helpful. So, the issue of the economy is one of the important issues. Today, one of the gentlemen in the meeting raised certain points in this regard.
As for industry, well, our industry suffers from certain problems. Universities can play their part in this regard. I deem it necessary to mention that according to the report that I have received, some universities have had a good performance in the area of relations with industries. And some universities have not established such relations and they have not had a good performance. 
Recently, I have heard that there is a plan allowing professors to take a sabbatical in industries. This has been ratified in centers in charge of such affairs. This is a very good measure. They should give a sabbatical to professors involved in industrial issues so that they go and become familiar with the problems of the country's industry up close. We have certain problems in the country's industry. Universities should solve these problems. 
Of course, some owners of industries have complained that the relationship between universities and industries has not been helpful to them, but universities can help the progress and improvement of industries in principle. This will prevent us from pinning our hopes on foreigners when it comes to our oil and electricity industries, for example. We do not have to sign contracts with foreigners so that they give us technology. This is what is being said in the present time and we think that we need to sign contracts with such and such a foreign oil company in order to be able to increase the capacity to extract oil from our wells  for example, from 25 percent to 50 percent. Under such circumstances, the company might impose certain things on us.
If our universities enter this arena, in my opinion, they will definitely be able to solve the problems, as we managed to solve the problems in certain areas. The entire world  the parts which were relevant to this matter  thought it was impossible for us to achieve the 20-percent enriched uranium. They could not believe that such a thing could happen in our country, but it did happen. 
They used to lay down terms and conditions for selling 20-percent enriched uranium to us. Unfortunately, some of our officials were gradually becoming ready to give those concessions. However, after some persistence and resistance and after some endeavors by our youth, the world witnessed all of a sudden that we no longer needed the 20-percent enriched uranium produced by the US, Russia and I think France  in those days, there was talk of buying it from such countries. We ourselves produced the 20-percent uranium. 
Well, why should the talent which managed to accomplish such a great feat  experts know that the main problem in enrichment is the movement from 3, 4 percent to 20 percent: otherwise, moving from 20 to 99 percent is an easier path  not be able to increase the output of our oil wells? Why should we not be able to do anything in the area of improving our industries? So, universities can help in this area  the area of industries.
As for the issue of social detriments  the issue of divorce, addiction, low-income areas, crimes, cyberspace and other such issues  the gentlemen in the meeting addressed this issue. Of course, we have involved all the organizations of the country in this matter for some time now. The gentleman in the meeting said four years, but apparently it is not four years, rather it is between two, three years. We have involved the organizations in charge, from the three branches of government, in the issue of social detriments. 
Good meetings are being held and many tasks are being carried out and they are doing follow-up as well. Of course, these are long-term measures and their results will not become visible so soon. Universities can be helpful in this regard. Those individuals who delivered speeches put forward some suggestions which are very good. I will ask my office to collect these suggestions in all areas so that the officials in charge think about them in different meetings and try to find ways to implement them in practice.
Another example is the issue of the cycle of production and consumption and the issue of innovation which was pointed out by the participants in the meeting. First of all, we should innovate  that is to say, we should put forward ideas  then we should produce and after that we should find markets and the like. The issue of supply and demand is a chain. This chain should move correctly. There is a chain in the process of production and consumption. The links in the chain should transfer possibilities correctly so that the task is accomplished in a precise manner. If there is a flaw in this cycle, who should enter the arena? Universities. Universities should identify the flaws and eliminate the problems so that we can accomplish the task.
Another example is the issue of supporting Iranian products. Fortunately, one of the gentlemen in the meeting addressed this issue. He had thought and worked on the matter and he raised the same points which I had written down. We should see what the obstacles in the way of producing quality products are. The first issue is that we should produce quality products inside the country so that they can attract customers and this way, products can be sold. First, we should see what the obstacles in the way of producing quality products are and then, we should see how we can find markets for them: what can we do to find markets for our products both inside and outside the country.
Of course, finding markets outside the country requires a separate discussion, but the problem inside the country is a mental and cultural problem. This was pointed out in the meeting and the statements in this regard are completely correct. In sociological and psychological discussions in universities, we should study the reasons why some of the people are more willing to buy foreign products rather than buy domestic products and we should find solutions for this. Of course, the gentleman in the meeting mentioned some solutions, but they are not enough. These issues require scientific studies. One can really find some solutions. 
You might see that in the course of two, three, four years, the issue will completely change. In the present time too, with the promotions that have been done, some sellers sell their foreign products to customers as domestic products. I am aware of this. I have information in this regard due to the reports that I receive. When customers ask for a certain product, sellers falsely say that their products are domestic despite the fact that they are not. This is because they know that customers need domestic products. This is a good thing. Of course, telling lies is bad, but it is very good that sellers have to present their foreign products as domestic ones [audience laughs]. This culture should be expanded. How can it be expanded? Well, this requires scientific measures. It is you who should do this. Another issue is transferring new scientific achievements to production divisions. All these tasks fall on different groups in universities.
Well, universities should identify the problems of the country. I fortunately witnessed this in the statements made by the gentlemen in the meeting. I have written it down and it was very interesting to me. I witnessed that they have really tried to identify the problems. For example, they mentioned, "How can women be both homemakers and pursue higher education? How can these two issues be justified? This is a problem." Well, this is an issue. Notice that identifying problems is a very important issue. And after that, we should resolve them. So, universities can be helpful in both identifying and resolving problems. Of course, there are many ideas in this regard. I have written down certain points, but there is little time.
Of course, managers should want this. I wish to ask the government officials who are present here to adopt a serious approach towards such issues  including the issue of the relationship between universities and the affairs of the country  in the meetings held by the cabinet, so that everyone becomes motivated to pursue them. I am saying this to each and every minister. Once, we had a minister of energy: a very good brother who had graduated from Amirkabir University. He was saying to me that we had such and such a problem. I said to him, "Brother, you should get out of your executive office and go to the university where you have graduated from and bring it up there. They will solve it for you." They would surely solve it and I have no doubt about it. If universities' involvement in the affairs of the country is taken seriously by managers  this should be the case in principle  issues will be resolved, in my opinion. It is managers who should knock on scientists' door. This is the main issue. Scientists should not wait behind managers' office doors. It is managers who should go knock on scientists' door and ask for help. 
The second requirement that I previously mentioned is moral, cultural and identity-based education: the cultivation of the aqli [rational] faculty. What is the aqli faculty? What is aql? In Islamic literature, aql is not only a faculty which makes material calculations. This is not the case: "Aql is something with which we worship Allah the Beneficent and achieve paradise" [al-Kafi, Vol. 1, page 11] This is aql. "Aql guides and saves" [Ghurur al-Hikam, page 124]. Aql is this. Aql should be able to help humans achieve transcendence. At one level, aql is a factor which helps humans get close to God and believe in monotheism. At a lower level, aql is something that helps people adopt an Islamic lifestyle. At a different level, aql is something that coordinates people's worldly affairs. All these things are conducted by aql.    
Aql and the aqli faculty is a faculty which contains all these features. So, it needs spiritual education. You should educate students in spiritual terms. Students are young and youth are naturally delicate and relatively clean. They are able to move in spiritual directions. This should be provided in universities: "There is no help in facing the world, except from wisdom" [Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 75, page 7]. Life without aql is not possible. 
Therefore, the moral aspect of this aqli faculty should be strong. Universities should teach youth to be religious and honorable, to be ready to take action, to avoid laziness, to be diligent and confident, and to accept and seek the truth. These are the qualities of a lofty individual. Islam wants such individuals. It is these individuals who can guide society towards salvation and bliss should they become managers in society. 
In the present time, it has become common practice in cyberspace to insult one another. One person insults another person and he answers back. They magnify a weak point and stain the reputation of believers and it is not clear who they are. Well, this is a very bad phenomenon. There are such things among our youth which should be prevented. This is possible with spiritual education.
In a gathering in the presence of the Holy Prophet, one person damaged the reputation of a believer. He damaged his reputation, but it is not mentioned how. Another person in the same gathering defended the reputation of the believer who had been attacked. The Holy Prophet said, "What you did  defending the reputation of a believer  is a veil against the fire of hell." Islamic lifestyle means this. This means "Show mercy so that you are shown mercy by Allah the Exalted" [speaking in Arabic]. These lessons should be taught to our youth. Our youth should be "Strong against unbelievers, compassionate amongst each other" [The Holy Quran, 48: 29]. This is the ayah which was recited here. They should be cultivated like this. 
They should stand up against oppression and oppressors, but they should behave in a kind manner towards their religious brothers. We should teach forgiveness to our youth. If youth are not morally cultivated today, they will do tasks in a poor, wrong and untrustworthy manner when they undertake responsibilities in the future. He who is ready today to slander someone for fun, for killing time and for satisfying their inner needs will be willing to completely ruin someone's reputation when they run for an election and they do so just to win the election. They become like that. In the future, such individuals will behave like that.
Another issue is the issue of lack of identity. You should educate youth to have a sense of identity. If society does not feel that it has an identity, then loud domineering voices will overwhelm them easily. He who resists is a person who has a sense of identity. Sometimes, this identity is a national identity, sometimes it is religious, sometimes it is humanitarian  honor and other such things. Youth should be taught to have a sense of identity. Today, our Islamic-Iranian society fortunately enjoys a deep-rooted, historical and resistant identity which has been shown in practice. We should transfer this to our youth. So, the issue of culture is an important issue. Cultural divisions should feel responsible and they should work on this.
The third requirement was continuous change in universities. I have written down a number of points to discuss in this regard. This reform in the affairs of universities has clear manifestations today: 
One clear manifestation is that we should turn the outlook of scientific consumption into an outlook of scientific production. How long should we keep consuming other's science? I am not opposed to acquiring science from others in any way. I have said this many times and everyone knows this. I have said that we do not think it is beneath our dignity to acquire science from someone who possesses it and to be students. However, it is one thing to be students, but it is quite another to imitate. How long should we keep following this and that in science? 
On the issue of humanities, why do some people become enraged when it is said that we should sit and develop Islamic humanities. Such individuals say, "Is this science? Is it science?" In the area of natural sciences, which can be experimented on in laboratories, it occurs that scientific findings are questioned and rejected on a daily basis. So, do you expect studies and research in humanities to be completely correct? How many contradictory ideas exist in economy? There are so many contradictory ideas in management, in various branches of humanities and in philosophy. So, which science?  
Science is something that can be achieved and understood and that flows from your active minds. We should seek the production of science. How long should we keep consuming this and that's science? Yes, it is alright to take from others the products that we do not have and to benefit from others' science, but this cannot be permanent. This cannot be eternal. Sometimes, other people's science is not correctly transferred to us. Sometimes, they do not give us the good, new an up-to-date parts. This has unfortunately happened frequently in our country  during the time of the taghuti regime. We should not repeat experiences over and over again. Therefore, we should produce science.
I have recently heard that some individuals keep rejecting the scientific achievements of the country, which are acknowledged by international associations, in their writings. I a hundred percent reject this claim! I reject it a hundred percent! This is not the case. The scientific achievements of the country are real achievements, not bubble achievements as claimed by some people. We have progressed in nanotechnology, we have progressed in stem cells, we have progressed in the nuclear technology, we have progressed in biotechnology and we have progressed in different branches of medical sciences. We have progressed in different areas. These achievements are real and they exist.
As was pointed out in the meeting, there was one day when Iranian physicians were few in number each time we left big cities. I myself used to live in Zahedan  in Iranshahr [Sistan and Baluchistan Province]. The doctors there were Indian. I myself went to them. Of course, they were not bad, but the country needed foreign doctors anyway. In the beginning of the Revolution, they would give eight, nine, ten-year appointments for heart surgery! When a patient suffering from heart disease referred to a hospital, his surgery would be conducted ten years later and until then, most of them would die. We were like that. Today, specialists conduct open heart surgeries in distant cities. These achievements are real achievements. Why do some people want to disappoint our academic society, our specialists and our scientists? The achievements are real achievements, but they should be expanded.
Another course of action is making research purposeful. Today, we conduct research. Well, the article-centered approach in our universities is a problem. Some people are opposed to this and some people say that there is no other choice. Of course, the increase in the number of articles  particularly the ones which are quoted and referred to  is a source of credibility for the country and it is alright, but articles should be purposeful. I have said this before as well. This is not today's discussion. I myself said this years ago and this was also pointed out by some of the honorable professors who spoke here. They said that research should become purposeful. 
You should see what the needs of the country are and where the shortcomings lie. Research should eliminate the shortcomings. This is very important. Purposeless research should be eliminated from our sphere of work. Of course, research has two goals in principle: one is becoming a scientific reference point and presence among the leaders of science and technology and secondly, resolving the current and future issues of the country. These two goals do not contradict one another. I have heard some people say, "How are they not contradictory? Is this goal correct or the other one?" Both goals are correct. The goal of research should be to reach the peak of science, to become a scientific reference point  in the future, we should definitely reach this point: becoming a scientific reference point in the world  and to resolve the current issues of the country.
Another issue which should definitely receive attention and be pursued in universities is the issue of the higher education plannning. Fortunately, another gentleman addressed this issue and mentioned it. This planning project was ratified in the year 1395 by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, but it has not made good progress. This means a nation-wide division of work among the universities of the country for attending to the diverse discussions that exist in the area of science. This is very efficient for planning. It will facilitate planning and also the evaluation of the scientific condition of the country. They will also overlap and complete one another. Of course, the Ministry of Health has apparently had a better performance in this regard. This is according to the reports that I have received.
The next issue which should receive the attention of universities is the implementation of the Comprehensive Scientific Plan. Well, part of this plan has been implemented, but not all of it. One of the problems in this regard  I mentioned this problem in the same meeting in the past as well  is that a great section in the body of our universities has not read the Comprehensive Scientific Plan and it is not aware of it at all. So much work has been done on this plan. So many scientists, experts and scientific and academic pundits have worked on it and the result is a good comprehensive plan. Well, this Comprehensive Scientific Plan should be implemented in universities. Who should do so? The academic body of the country and professors themselves. They should read and take a look at it to see what it is and what has been requested in that plan. There should be meetings between professors and post-graduate students for the sake of implementing this plan. The traces of this plan should be seen in educational environments and in the educational system and research of the country.
The next issue is that academic fields of study have become unbalanced. Some fields of study have become isolated. The statistics that have been delivered to me show that the students participating in the mathematics entrance exam have decreased by approximately 50 percent. This is dangerous for the future of the country. We need these important fields of basic sciences  in particular, mathematics and physics  for the future. If candidates participating in these fields decrease in number and if there is a rush towards lucrative fields of study  fields which lead to money and occupation immediately after graduation  this will become problematic. Academic organizations should definitely make up for the consequences of this unbalance. 
Another issue is the issue of the article-centered approach. I previously mentioned that articles should move in the direction of resolving the issues of the country. The easy path in which professors write articles and achieve promotion is a problem by itself. In the promotion regulations, writing articles for promoting professors plays a crucial role. Well, this is an easy path. The task should be carried out in a more careful way. Promotion should not be purely based on writing articles. There are more fundamental factors that can be chosen as the main criteria [audience recite salawat as a sign of confirmation]. Well, this shows that you both confirm what I have said and that you have become tired [audience laughs]. I will conclude my statements soon.
My dear ones, universities should educate students who are hopeful about the future and optimistic about the conditions and future of the country. The is the main issue. Today's students should be confident that what is given to them in the future  when it will be their turn to be in charge of management, leadership and reform  will be a country which is better than today. Students should be given this hope. 
And this is the truth of the matter. We have moved forward, to a great extent, compared to 10, 20, 40 years ago. Some of you are aware of this, but most of you are young. Most of you do not remember 30 years ago and the condition of the country back then. I will tell you that the progress of the country and the academic environment in the past 20 years is real and praiseworthy progress. So, students should be cultivated like this: they should believe in the capabilities and achievements of the country  whether domestic and international achievements  and they should also believe in the progress, capability and power of the country to build the future. They should believe in these things and they should be aware of the country's position in the world.
 In the present time, we are a country which has the most enemies among arrogant governments and among some useless powers and we have the most supporters among the masses of people in many countries. I am not saying in all countries, but in many countries. No other country is as reputable as the Islamic Republic in many countries  whether neighboring or non-neighboring countries. They might be interested in and attracted to such and such a scientifically advanced country, but they do not love them at all. However, the Islamic Republic enjoys this status. And that is why it has malicious and decisive enemies, but by Allah's favor, all these enemies will be defeated in the face of the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic and they will not be able to do anything.
In the present time, that Shimr of the age [Shimr is the person who martyred Imam Hussein(a.s.)]  the child-murdering Prime Minister of the usurper regime  goes to Europe and portrays themselves as an oppressed country, saying that Iran wants to destroy them and the like. First of all, they are Shimrs in the real sense of the word. They are people who are the embodiment of all oppressors in history. Their European audiences only listen and nod, but they do not point to their crimes in Gaza in any way! They commit crimes in Quds, but the Europeans do not mention them at all. He talks and they nod. Well, this world is a bad world. 
The Islamic Republic has acted in a reasonable way in all areas. On the issue of the usurping regime, 40, 50 years ago  when you were not born yet - Jamal Abdel Nasser used to chant the slogan of throwing the Jews into the sea. When he wanted to speak against Israel, he would say that they would throw the Jews into the sea. However, the Islamic Republic has never said such a thing from the first day! We presented a plan from the first day. We have said that today, democracy and reference to public votes is a modern and advanced method which is approved by the entire world. Very well, in order to choose the government of the historic country of Palestine, you should refer to the public votes of the people of Palestine. You should hold a referendum. 
This has been recorded in the UN, a few years ago, as the opinion and viewpoint of the Islamic Republic. This is our opinion: those who are really Palestinian  for example, those who have been Palestinian since at least 80, 100 years ago: there are Muslims, Jews and Christians in Palestine and they are all Palestinians  should be asked to give their opinions wherever they are  whether those in the occupied lands, the entire Palestine, or those who live outside Palestine. Every government that they choose for Palestine is accepted. Whatever they want is accepted. Is this a bad opinion? Is this not a modern opinion? However, the Europeans are not willing to understand this! This is while that child-murdering, malicious, oppressive and Shimr-like person goes there and portrays themselves as oppressed, saying that Iran wants to destroy and annihilate them by killing several million people!
Dear God, make what we said, what exists in our minds and what we heard serve You and Your cause.
Dear God, help our country get closer, on a daily basis, to the peaks of transcendence and progress, such progress that is approved by Islam.
Dear God, help our academic environment, our academic personalities, our honorable professors and our dear students benefit from Your attention, kindness, blessings and support. Help them succeed in what gains Your satisfaction. Associate the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam and the pure souls of the martyrs with your saints. Help us to join them.
Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings



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