The head of the Office for International Students at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad was interviewed by Iranian Students’ News Agency on December 23. Dr. Zeinab Moazenzadeh started her talk by providing a brief overview of science and technology diplomacy. She reiterated, “When talking about science and technology diplomacy, it is implied that science and technology can be used as a means for fulfilling large-scale national goals and interests”. Dr. Moazenzadeh then pointed to the importance of attracting scientific tourists to Iran and said, “We can easily introduce our country’s scientific, economic, political and technological potentials through university graduates. By hosting and providing various services for international students, they would act as the ambassadors of science and technology for the Islamic Republic of Iran in other countries”. The head of the Office for International Students at FUM also said, “On the one hand, attracting international students would introduce the potentials of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad to scientific centers around the world. On the other, we get encouraged to create the necessary infrastructures for reaching international standards.
Dr. Zeinab Moazenzadeh also talked about the major factors attracting scientific tourists to Iran. She added that “in order to have a successful diplomacy and benefit from all our rights in the realm of science and technology, we have to put greater focus on scientific diplomacy”.
Dr. Moazenzadeh went on saying that all the top-ranked universities around the world pay special attention to scientific tourism. She added, “Promoting the potentials of national universities, granting academic scholarships, presenting the potentials of universities on the world wide web, holding international conferences and seminars, and signing international scientific memorandums of understanding are just a number of suggestions for attracting more scientific tourists”.
Focusing on the status of Khorasan Razavi Province in terms of scientific tourism, Dr. Moazenzadeh pointed to the systematic attraction of international students by Ferdowsi University of Mashhad through the support of faculty members and administrative bodies inside the university. She reiterated, “Due to the existence of Imam Reza’s holy shrine, and based on the guidelines provided by the scientific-cultural diplomacy plan as well as the tireless efforts of university officials, 1500 international students have enrolled at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad to date. These international students come from 21 different countries and study at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Also, on a larger scale, 6 thousand non-Iranian students are currently studying at universities located in Khorasan Razavi province.
The head of the Office for International Students at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad continued, “22 thousand non-Iranian students are currently studying at Iranian universities. Approximately, 6 thousand of these international students hold some sort of scholarship, while others pay tuition fees”. Dr. Zeinab Moazenzadeh said, “according to the sixth 5-year development plan of Iran, universities have to start the internationalization process. In fact, Iranian universities have been obliged to attract a total of 100 thousand international students until the end of this 5-year plan”.
Dr. Moazenzadeh went on outlining the main reasons why Ferdowsi University of Mashhad has made large investments in the scientific and cultural sectors, namely developing more sustainable and effective international relations, competing with international universities in terms of scientific quality, expanding Persian language, introducing the culture and civilization of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and exchanging knowledge and different forms of arts. Instances of such activities and investments include holding several sport-cultural events, nations’ food festival, numerous religious ceremonies, scientific and recreational camps, and many other activities specially designed for international students. Due to such activities and the existing overlook, 1500 international students have enrolled at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad and this university has obtained the 1st rank in Iran in terms of the internationalization index, as recently officially announced by the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology.
Dr. Moazenzadeh considered it ‘necessary’ to continue providing high-level services and facilities for international students in order to help fulfilling national objectives with regards to cultural and scientific diplomacy, as well as maintaining the high dignity of the Islamic Republic of Iran. She then outlined the main plans of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad for increasing the satisfaction level of current and future International students, including standardization and providing acceptable infrastructure and dormitories, using English as the language of instruction, devising special graduate courses, providing better scientific support for international students, and facilitating their consular issues.
For more details, you can see this website: http://iso.um.ac.ir/index.php?lang=en