A delegation from the University of Isfahan, Iran, has visited St Petersburg University. Representatives of the academic community of the two countries discussed the prospects for cooperation in science and education.

The guests of St Petersburg University were greeted by Rector Nikolay Kropachev. He recalled that a memorandum of cooperation had been signed between our Universities in 2021, and it would expire soon. ’Of course, I would like our relations to be more intense. We have a good example of cooperation with the University of Tehran. I am sure our work with the University of Isfahan can be as fruitful,’ said the Rector.

Professor Hossein Harsij, President of the University of Isfahan, also greeted the University students and staff in his welcoming address.

St Petersburg and Isfahan have a lot in common. Isfahan is the cultural capital of the Islamic world, while St Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia. And for some period of time, both our cities were political capitals.

Professor Hossein Harsij, President of the University of Isfahan

’Today, the relations between our countries are developing politically and economically. Unfortunately, our scientific networking is not as strong. At the same time, it is the scientific environment that is a framework for most fruitful cooperation and development,’ says Professor Harsij.

He paid special attention to the fact that agreements should not only be reflected on paper, but also bear fruit in work. He proposed the creation of several boards that could directly deal with the implementation of a variety of projects and would make the agreement between our universities more productive.

Ghasem Moslehi, President of the Isfahan Science and Technology Town, also delivered a welcoming address. He suggested that there should be cooperation in the research field. ’If we establish good research relations, we will develop technologies more actively. Our Science and Technology Town is demonstrating rapid and significant growth,’ shared Ghasem Moslehi.

Nikolay Kropachev, in his turn, spoke about the St Petersburg University Research Park. He recalled the open access principle adopted there. According to it, anyone may conduct research using the University equipment upon request.

I would be very happy if we established contact between our research parks, because, knowing that we can use the equipment you have, we will not need to buy it ourselves. And the same will be true for you.

Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University

The Rector of St Petersburg University also shared the University’s plans for the construction of a new campus that will be located in the vicinity of the Imperial Lyceum in Pushkin and the Pavlovsk Park. ’We need to erect the first building by 2024 because that is the year of the University’s 300th anniversary,’ he said. It is planned that the new campus will include 200 hectares of land. Another 100 hectares will be occupied by a science and technology valley. The residential area will be about five to seven million square metres.

At the same time, both parties are sure that cooperation is also possible in other areas, for example, in medicine and art. The opportunity of jointly created academic programmes with in-depth study of the Russian language in Iran and the Persian language in Russia was highlighted. St Petersburg University already has an experience in implementing such programmes. For example, as of today, more than 60 academic programmes with a Chinese component have been created. Students also learn the languages and study the culture and economy of other countries.

At the end of the meeting, Nikolay Kropachev thanked his colleagues from Iran for a fruitful discussion. ’From the very first words, it is clear that you came here to work. It is clear that you are passionate about your work and want our relationship to be meaningful,’ he summed up.

The meeting was also attended by: Sergey Andryushin, Vice-Rector for International Affairs at St Petersburg University; Artem Andreev, Director of the Centre for the Study of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Mikhail Pelevin, Head of the Department of Persian Philology; and interpreter Anna Ishmukhamedova, a graduate of St Petersburg University.