Leader's Speech in Meeting with University Professors

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on July 2, 2014 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with university professors. The meeting was held in the Imam Khomeini (r.a.) Hussainiyah on the fourth 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 Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his immaculate household

I would like to welcome the dear brothers and sisters, the honorable university professors and the scholars who are present in this meeting. This meeting has always been one of the sweetest meetings for this humble person both because of the statements that are made - which are mostly beneficial, deep, intellectual and scholarly - and more than that, because of the scholarly environment of the meeting. Basically, our main purpose of holding this meeting is to express our respect for scholars and committed ulama - who are the greatest source of wealth for the country - in a symbolic way.

There are many issues in your mind and each of you has certain things to say. If there was an opportunity to listen to your statements, this would definitely be beneficial. I hope that these statements and thoughts will be expressed in the right place - in scientific and academic meetings - and in the right way and I hope that officials will benefit from these thoughts.

Without a doubt, all the thoughts and ideas of our scholars and intellectuals in universities about all the issues of the country will provide a great source of wealth for the managers of the country. I hope that these thoughts and ideas will be benefitted from. Naturally, our current limited meeting does not have the capacity to benefit from all ideas and opinions.

I thank the dear brothers and sisters who delivered a speech. All those who delivered a speech raised very good points and we benefitted from their statements. By Allah's favor, these statements will be benefitted from during planning and exchange of opinions with the executive officials of the country. The effect of these statements should be witnessed.

Well, our goal is to respect knowledge and knowledgeable personalities and to listen to and understand the statements of the honorable professors and friends in this meeting. Thankfully, this goal has been achieved until today and until this very moment. I too will discuss certain issues.

First of all, the environment of Ramadan is the environment of warmth, spirituality, honesty and purity. We should try to make the most of this environment, both for the sake of our spiritual relationship with God - we should strengthen this spiritual and personal relationship with Allah the Exalted because the best and the greatest advantage for anyone is strengthening this relationship - and for the sake of our eternal life in the hereafter because the real life exists in the hereafter. Making the most of this environment is beneficial for both the hereafter and our life in this world. Besides, we should try to benefit from this spiritual and pure environment - which exists in the month of Ramadan on a public level - for establishing a proper and spiritual relationship between ourselves and other people, for making correct decisions and for adopting proper measures.

In our relationships with other people, we should be optimistic, we should have trust in others, we should be kind and we should be well-wishing. We should benefit from the month of Ramadan in a way that we show kindness in our social and human relationships and in a way that we turn the environment of living and the environment of the country into a more enlightened environment. This can be done by each and every one of us, particularly you who are university professors, who have a high scientific position and who can naturally exert more influence over the environment around you - whether student environments or other environments.

I have written down a number of points to discuss because this meeting is a very valuable meeting for me as we are among a group of outstanding intellectual and scientific personalities. We, who are always proud of the human resources of the country, should know that the best and most prominent members of our human resources are the elements who are busy building knowledgeable personalities in universities. These elements are the honorable university professors. This is an opportunity for us to discuss certain points with you face to face.

The first point is about the scientific movement of the country. In my opinion, this issue is very important. I believe that the issue of the scientific movement of the country is a fundamental issue for the life of our people, our society and even for the life of the world of Islam. It is many years - perhaps, 10, 12 years now- that we have been stressing the issue of knowledge and this has produced results. The scientific movement has really begun in the country. It has moved forward and many great feats have been accomplished. You heard examples of these great feats from the honorable professors and examples are many more than what the friends in this meeting referred to.

The task has begun and this scientific movement has really become well-known throughout the world. In fact, the scientific movement of our dear country is on exhibition throughout the world. However, what concerns me is that this movement of ours has not reached a stable point yet. We are like people who are moving up on a steep slope. We have moved forward on this slope and many tasks have been carried out, but we are in the middle of the way. For different reasons, we are in the middle of the way.

I do not want to speak at length about this issue because we have spoken about it in different meetings and we have discussed certain points on different occasions. If we stop moving on the steep slope, then this pause will be accompanied by backwardness and it will no longer be a pause. If our movement witnesses a pause, then moving again and accelerating this movement will be more difficult. This is our concern.

What I want to say is that we should help this scientific movement with all our power and we should work on it. We should not create a situation in which this movement witnesses a pause. This is our first and foremost point.

Undoubtedly, the camp of our enemies has certain motives for stopping the scientific movement of the country. Some people are sensitive about the word "enemy". They complain to us, "Why do you always speak about an enemy?" This is while when you look at the Holy Quran, you will see that from the beginning to the end, the words "shaitan" and "iblis" have been repeated many times. The enemy should not be ignored.

It is not a flaw to consider the enemy to be the enemy. The fact that we stress the word "the enemy" does not mean that we are negligent about our own domestic problems. This is not the case. "Your worst enemy is your inner self, the one that exists in between your two sides" [Speaking in Arabic]. The worst enemy is our inner enemy and our self-indulgent, lazy and hedonistic self. Our worst enemy is lack of insight in carrying out our tasks. This is quite clear and it has its own significance, but ignoring the foreign enemy is a great strategic mistake which inflicts a loss on us. Therefore, the enemy should be known and seen - you might say that we should or should not behave towards him in a specific way, but this is a different issue - his enmity should be understood and his plan should be identified.

One of the most important plans of the enemy is stopping the scientific movement of the country. When we understand this, we will return to the issue of universities. It is here that the jihadi management that we spoke about becomes meaningful. Jihad means an effort that is made in the face of an enemy. Not any effort is jihad. Jihad means an effort that is made in the face of a hostile challenge on the part of the other side. This is jihad.

And the meaning of jihadi management in this regard is paying attention to the fact that the scientific movement of the country and the scientific progress of the country is faced with a hostile challenge. You who are managers, university professors and students should stand up against this hostile challenge. This is jihadi movement and management, whether the management of a university, a ministry or any sector in this great arena. Standing up against this hostile challenge is jihadi management.

Of course, in the past, we witnessed some inappropriate cases in universities. There were some people in a well-established university of the country who encouraged outstanding students to leave the country. This is the reason why they constantly say, "brain drain, brain drain". There were some people who scouted for outstanding personalities and who encouraged them to leave the country. We witnessed this in a certain era. At some point in time, we witnessed that there were some people in the Ministry of Sciences who created obstacles in the way of the scientific movement and progress of the country.

It is possible that they had their own reasons, which they thought were plausible. But the truth was that they were creating obstacles. Such cases should not be repeated. Universities should not be managed by those people who place no value on and who attach no significance to scientific progress. Universities should be managed by those people who love the scientific progress of the country and who understand the significance of this issue for the fate of our people and our country. This is our main point.

This issue is addressed to executive officials, officials in charge of universities and you university professors. Universities have begun a movement. You should not allow it to be stopped. This movement should continue and be strengthened. As I said - there is no room in this meeting to expand on this issue - we have a long way ahead of us to reach the desired point in the area of knowledge. Many efforts should be made and great diligence should be shown.

Based on the measures that experts and specialists have adopted, I believe that even in the short run, sanctions will be counteracted with scientific progress. Today, the issue of sanctions is one of the issues which exists in people's minds. Imagine that we adopt a short-term and mid-term outlook and that we forget about our long-term future. Even so, if the country wants to counteract sanctions, we should know that - as the honorable gentlemen in this meeting pointed out - they will be counteracted by adopting a scientific outlook towards the issues of the country and by paying attention to science and to connecting science, industry and agriculture to one another.

Today, sanctions are a tool in the hands of our enemies for humiliating our people. They use sanctions for exerting pressures on our national dignity and this is apart from the practical pressures which are related to living conditions. They humiliate our people through sanctions. This is the reason why we have repeatedly said in recent years that we should not place too much emphasis on the issue of sanctions. The arena is open for us to work on such areas. We can work on them. Knowledge-based companies are one of the most fundamental tasks related to the issue of the economy of resistance which has been brought up, discussed at length and agreed upon by all the sides involved in the issues of the country.

Of course, we should be careful about identifying knowledge-based companies. That is to say, standards and criteria should be established. It should not be the case that some people engage in doing things which are common in other areas - such as the things that dealers and other such people do - in the name of knowledge-based companies. They should be knowledge-based companies in the real sense of the word. This should be one of the main standards.

I would like to say in parentheses that some people who are influential and who have the podium express doubts about the issue of the scientific progress of the country. We think that this is not appropriate. What they say is really based on lack of information. Once, one of the officials of the country expressed his opinion about military issues which was not based on facts. I said, "We should organize a military tour for the officials of the country so that they visit military environments and see certain realities and so that they increase their information about the military resources of the country".

Unfortunately, there is the same situation about scientific issues. We should organize a scientific tour for officials at different levels. The friends in this meeting pointed to a number of areas. One of the friends pointed to the issue of nanotechnology. Of course, the issue is not only about nanotechnology. He said, "We engage in digging a well, but when we get close to water, we let go of it". This is not the case. They are pursuing it. Those who are in charge of digging the well are really pursuing the matter and they have reached good points.

For example, the medicine of the country is one of the most advanced ones in the world. We are not far behind other countries in the area of medicine and we are very close to them. The same is true of other areas such as the nuclear science and stem cells. There are many areas in which we have made very good achievements. Well, it is not good for those who do not have enough information to express doubts. They should go and study. They should be in contact with these achievements and as I said, they should go on a scientific tour and gain some information. This was my main issue and I discussed it.

I ask the officials in charge of different ministries and those executive officials who are involved in issues related to science, universities and industry to adopt a serious outlook towards the issue of scientific progress and the relationship between science and technology. There should be no negligence in this regard. This issue is our main issue. It is one of the most fundamental and urgent issues that we have. Research has its own significance, but in my opinion, there should be no negligence about such research and what should be done in this regard.

I have written down another point to discuss: well, the comprehensive scientific plan was thankfully ratified. According to the reports that I have received, it has been welcomed. Several scientific plans have been prepared and announced based on the comprehensive scientific plan and several other plans are being prepared. We were told that a number of officials in charge of scientific centers have asked the organization which is in charge of implementing the comprehensive scientific plan to prepare a scientific plan for their own sectors.

Well, this has happened. This has been an important and beneficial event in the country. What can complement this task is that the responsibilities of different universities of the country towards the comprehensive scientific plan are specified according to their advantages. Well-established universities and other universities of the country should know their responsibilities towards this great scientific plan and they should work on their own areas. That is to say, a table should be drawn up so that any university knows its responsibility for filling this table. We can divide universities into certain categories according to their advantages and talents and we can assign each university its own tasks.

Another issue that I have written down to discuss is that our movement in the area of scientific activities has thankfully begun. One fundamental point in scientific activities is that such activities should address the needs of the country. This has not been completely fulfilled in the present time.

As the friends pointed out, the scientific articles of our country have certain customers today. There are many customers throughout the world for scientific work, but this is not enough. Of course, the fact that you prepare an article which will be a reference point is a source of pride. It is a good thing. It is good for the country as well and it is a sign of the scientific progress of the country. But what is more important than this is that your work in scientific areas should address the needs of the country.

As you witnessed today, experts raised certain points, addressed certain needs and pointed to certain weaknesses about issues related to industry, agriculture, management of crisis and different other issues related to the country. Scientific research and scientific articles can be prepared for addressing and meeting these needs. This is an important issue as well.

If the universities of the country make efforts in this area, this is the most important service that they have offered for the sake of managing the country. Universities and scientific environments can help by influencing officials' decisions in different areas. Their scientific work - whether their articles, the theses that they assign their students and their scientific debates - should address their needs.

Another point which is good to discuss with you professors and which I have written down is that professors have an influential position in the minds of their students. This is the characteristic of university professors. Your scientific superiority over your students and the lessons that you teach them create an influential position in their minds and their characters. You should benefit from this position for building your students. Today, we need our youth to have high morale, to be hopeful, courageous, self-confident and pious and to have a forward-looking and diligent spirit. We need our students to be built like this.

Well, you can carry out this task in scientific environments and in your classrooms. The opposite scenario is possible as well. It is possible to make students lose trust in the future of the country and adopt an indifferent outlook. It is possible to do this with certain statements and by ridiculing the well-established principles of the country. This is also possible. What is expected of professors is not only to feed students with knowledge. Professors are also expected to strengthen students' spirituality and spiritual character. You can be influential in this regard. You should try to build students in a way that they become committed to spiritual, familial and national attachments. You should build students in a way that they believe in Islamic culture.

Some people acted in the opposite way during the many years before the Revolution. Of course, after the Revolution too, some instances of this behavior has been witnessed in universities. Well, we are aware of such cases. You are aware of them as well. We knew and know certain people and a certain orientation in this regard. The names of such people are not important. There is an orientation which is dominated by the dominant western culture. Anything that is western is praiseworthy for it and anything that is national and domestic is humiliated and insulted by it. We have such people. This is the exact opposite of what should exist.

In academic environments and in classrooms, university professors can build their students in a way that they become pious and religious and that they believe in the future and fate of their country and people. They can teach them to be hopeful and optimistic, to have high morale and to believe in the principles of the political system of the country. They can act in the opposite way as well. Our expectation of university professors is this: their statements should not make young students lose enthusiasm and be hopeless. The same is true of professors' behavior.

What I want to say to the dear brothers and sisters and the honorable university professors is that - as I have repeatedly said in this meeting and other meetings - university professors should consider the academic environment to be their main job and attachment, not their second and peripheral job. Professors should spend a lot of time in universities in order to meet the scientific needs of students and establish a close relationship with them.

It should not be the case that they merely show their presence and carry out a responsibility in a careless way. This is another point that I discussed. Professors should make time for students. They should behave towards them in a sympathetic way. This encourages students to make scientific efforts. This makes them model themselves after their professors' behavior in the area of pursuing scientific tasks. Naturally, they are influenced by their professors.

Another point is about ethics lessons. Professors of ethics have a very valuable opportunity in universities. A large number of students - millions of students - are available to professors of ethics during many hours. This is a very valuable opportunity. The best youth are available to you. If professors of ethics interact with students in a wise way and by relying on deep and up-to-date knowledge on different intellectual and Islamic issues, then we will receive the most benefits from the presence of professors of ethics in universities.

In my opinion, it is really essential for Leader's Representative Office to pay careful attention to these issues and to formulate plans for it so that we can make maximum use of the presence of these honorable professors in universities with the purpose of strengthening students' faith, improving their performance and building their religious and spiritual characters.

Another issue is the issue of humanities. We have brought up this issue since some time ago and the reasons for this have been repeatedly stated. We really need to make a fundamental change to humanities. This does not mean that we think we do not need other people's intellectual, scholarly and research-based work. This is not what I mean. Some fields of humanities have been developed by westerners. They have studied and worked on them and we should benefit from their studies. The issue is that the basis of western humanities is non-divine, materialistic and non-monotheistic. This is not compatible with Islamic principles, nor is it compatible with religious principles. Only when they are based on a divine basis and world view, humanities are good and beneficial, they build individuals in the proper way and they are to the benefit of individuals and society. This does not exist in today's humanities.

Humanities should be worked on and thought about. Of course, this cannot be done in haste. It is a long-term and important task. However, it is necessary for the friends who are busy working on it to give it due pace. That is to say, although we should not do it in haste, it is not appropriate and acceptable to do it slowly either. It should be worked on. Of course, I have heard and I am aware that as well as what the Council of Cultural Revolution is doing in this regard, many university professors are carrying out important and voluntary tasks on this issue. It is good for these tasks to be in line with one another. These two groups of people should cooperate with one another so that the country and the universities of the country achieve good results in this area.

Apparently, our time is up. The last point is that I seriously ask the managers of universities and different officials in charge of management to avoid turning universities into centers for political uproar and the activities of political orientations. A deadly poison for the scientific movement is that universities turn into political clubs. This was what happened in a certain era.

Of course, this does not mean rejecting political movements by students. I have always been and still am an advocate of political work by students and academic personalities. I still believe in this, but it is one thing to adopt a political outlook, to gain a political understanding and to engage in political activities, it is quite another to turn universities, classrooms and scientific environments into a parade ground for political work. The latter is a different issue. These two are different from each other.

Tranquility helps universities to do their own work and to carry out their own responsibilities in the area of scientific issues which is so important. If, God forbid, the opposite happens, the first blow that we will receive is that the scientific movement in universities and consequently in the country will either stop or slow down. And as I said, a pause means retrogression.

Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his household (a.s.), bestow Your blessings on the universities of the country and on our academic personalities and students in these sensitive hours and on these auspicious days.

Dear God, guide us towards the path which will lead to the guidance of the people of Iran and to the glory of the world of Islam.

Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his household (a.s.), bestow on us the insight to face different challenges in different times. Bestow on us purity in the movement that we are launching.

Dear God, bestow Your mercy, forgiveness and blessings on our dear martyrs, particularly the martyrs of universities and the recent martyrs of the country - who are the martyrs of knowledge and the public jihad of the people of Iran.

Dear God, make us steadfast on the path of these martyrs.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings