The Ambassador of France at the URD

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Ambassador of France

The Ambassador of France met with Hujat al-Islam Sayed Abolhasan Navab at the University of Religions and Denominations.  

According to the Public Relations Office of the university, the French ambassador Philippe Thiebaud, happy with the meeting, said: “this is my honor to be here at this university for the second time. Based on the missions of URD and its excellent performance in the interfaith dialogue, it is necessary to develop the relationship between the academic and cultural centers of France and this academic institution and establish common goals. Definitely, achieving these goals can be very important and effective for the students, universities, and also for the greater connection of cultures and civilizations.”

“Scholars such as Henry Corbin have made great efforts to introduce the true, real face of Islam and Shiism in Europe. Corbin’s efforts to introduce Iran and Shia Islam in France led to the establishment of the French Institute for Iranian Studies (Institut Français d’Iranologie) in France. However, there are still fallacies on Islam and Shiism in Europe”, he continued.

The France’s ambassador expressed: “human rights are a set of universal rights and I believe that we are all following a common goal, i.e. human development based on cultures and traditions. Accordingly, dialogue is very important in this regard. This is not a matter of imposing views or changing cultures, but the matter is reaching a common goal, which we can share together.”

He added: “cultural elements are highly important in Europe, since it works toward reducing disputes and results in achieving common values, in spite of the existing disputes: disputes that had caused various wars so far. Seemingly, what matters here is the distribution of the values of the two sides: both the values of Islam and the values of European traditions. What the extremists try to depict is not a real, true image of a tradition and a religion. Education is highly important in achieving cultural harmony and eliminating extremism.”

“Currently, 6 million Muslims live in France”, said Thiebaud and continued: “most Muslims in France try to adjust themselves with the French society; they are active members of the society and are present at different places and situations such as universities and academic communities. However, there are extremists among different groups in France. Unfortunately, the French Media focuses on these extremists. This has caused challenges between the French government and some Muslims.”

At the beginning of the meeting, President Navab welcomed the French ambassador and the accompanying delegation, stating: “the University of Religions and Denominations is a university of humanities; therefore, it always hosts people who study, teach, and do research in the field of religions and humanities. France has always been home to philosophy, sociology, and art; it has introduced great philosophers and sociologists to the world. As a result, closer contact between the French professors and students and the University of Religions and Denominations is expected. Prior to the brutal US sanctions against the Iranian people, such contacts were at a good level; URD had academic and cultural dialogue with some of France’s reputable universities. Different academic groups visited URD and had academic dialogue with our professors. Following the sanctions, however, the French government has reportedly banned French faculty members from travelling to Iran.”

The President of URD mentioned that the dialogues between followers of religions, human rights, peace, and factors destroying human solidarity were topics that URD pursued and seriously aimed to focus on. He addressed the France’s ambassador and continued: “As you already know, we have ever sought human rights, as the famous poem by Saadi also works as the United Nations’ motto. The poem itself is the interpretation of a hadith by the Prophet of Islam (PBUH). This approach is in fact derived from the traditional and religious culture of Islam and Iran; it is inherited to us from the past.”

President Nabab pointed to the facilitation of cultural relations as one the responsibilities of the ambassadors and stated: “as you mentioned, cultural relations and dialogues can solve some of the existing problems. Accordingly, facilitating cultural relations between universities, and religious leaders in different governments and nations can be very helpful. Linking cultural issues to politics is a major barrier to cultural relations. You should persuade your government to constantly maintain these cultural relations and religious, academic trips despite the brutal political sanctions. Although the French government may not be able to confront the political strategies of the US, it should not ban cultural relations and prevent its thinkers and researchers from relations with Iran.”

Hujat al-Islam Sayed Abolhassan Navab further emphasized the resumption of academic and religious relations between Iran and France, and said to the French ambassador: “I officially invite the archbishop of France. Please invite him on my behalf and provide the conditions for his trip to Iran. I will host him at URD.”

Following the meeting, Hujat al-Islam Dr. Taskhiri, the Deputy of Communications and International  Affairs of the university, referred to the various academic collaborations of URD with other countries, saying: “URD is always ready to hold joint scholarly programs for the students and professors. Thus, establishing relations and signing collaboration agreements with the reputable universities of France would be admirable. Also, using the international programs such as Erasmus+ is another joint collaboration of URD with other European universities and can be implemented in a memorandum of understanding with French universities.”

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