Bienvenido a Irán!

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Soodeh Samipoor | Earlier this year, upon an official invitation of NLAI and on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of its establishment, Gloria Pérez-Salmerón, President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), paid a visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran (24-29 February 2018). The visit was enthusiastically welcomed by the community of Iranian institutions in librarianship and information science. In the first part of the visit, Salmerón, accompanied by Nafisah Ahmad, Director-General of the National Library of Malaysia, attended a meeting at Al-Zahra University (a female-only university), and attended by the President of the University, professors, students and librarians. Following a presentation on the University’s activities and capabilities, the exchange of views continued primarily on IFLA activities at the global level as well as Iran-IFLA cooperation.
On the second day of her visit, February 26th, Ms. Salmerón was the special guest of the Special Event on the 18th Anniversary of the Establishment of the National Library and Archives of Iran, held at the NLAI headquarters. The event was also attended by Eshaq Jahangiri, First Vice-President and a number of other Iranian officials and ambassadors and representatives of the diplomatic corps in Tehran.
At the event, IFLA President spoke in detail about the activities of the Organization and the importance of libraries in the modern life of human societies. Later the same day, she attended a meeting at the Iranian Library and Information Science Association (ILISA) and engaged in a fruitful direct dialogue with ILISA members and experts in information science and knowledge studies. In the course of the exchange, she emphasized that “the only way to success lies in working together to enhance the world knowledge regardless of religion, nationality, gender or politics”. At the end of the event, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the IFLA President and Fariborz Khosravi, President of ILISA, on areas of mutual interest, especially IFLA’s support of the member countries’ activities on the specific theme of the “Role Played by Libraries in Advancing Societies.”
During the last day of her stay in Iran, February 28th, Ms. Salmerón visited the Shahid Beheshti University, met with the University President, and visited the University’s Central Library and Museum. In the course of the exchange with the director and staff of the Library, promotion of cooperation between IFLA and the University of Shahid Beheshti, and the specific steps to be taken, were discussed.
In addition to a fully-packed schedule of meetings and visits in Tehran, Ms. Salmerón also paid a one-day visit to Shiraz and visited the city’s National Library. The visit was highly appreciated by the library staff, especially the librarians who found the opportunity for direct exchange with the IFLA President interesting and illuminating.
The visit by the IFLA President to Iran proved to be a very successful event and helped both sides to arrive at a better mutual understanding of each other. It could be further promoted and strengthened in the future with similar visits, including for Iranian librarians and experts to visit the IFLA Headquarters. Expressing her appreciation of the level of Iran’s active participation in IFLA annual meeting and considering it as the best investment for Iran’s librarianship decision-makers, she believed that librarians could be the best ambassadors of Iran to IFLA Congress. Also impressed by the quality of the exchanges and discussions with a wide range of Iranians in the field of library and information sciences, the IFLA President told her Iranian interlocutors: “I encourage every librarian in the world to visit Iran”.

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