Monthly Archives: August 2008

iran’s education race

An interesting article for Asheyan …

SPECIAL REPORT: THE EDUCATION RACE
Published Aug 9, 2008
Aug. 18-25, 2008 issue
http://www.newsweek.com/id/151684

 

The Star Students of the Islamic Republic
Forget Harvard—one of the world’s best undergraduate colleges is in Iran.

 

 

By Afshin Molavi | NEWSWEEK
Stanford University‘s Electrical Engineering Department were startled when a group of foreign students aced the notoriously difficult Ph.D. entrance exam, getting some of the highest scores ever. That the whiz kids weren’t American wasn’t odd; students from Asia and elsewhere excel in U.S. programs. The surprising thing, say Stanford administrators, is that the majority came from one country and one school: Sharif University of Science and Technology in Iran.
Stanford has become a favorite destination of Sharif grads. Bruce A. Wooley, a former chair of the Electrical Engineering Department, has said that’s because Sharif now has one of the best undergraduate electrical-engineering programs in the world. That’s no small praise given its competition: MIT, Caltech and Stanford in the United States, Tsinghua in China and Cambridge in Britain.
Sharif’s reputation highlights how while Iran makes headlines for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s incendiary remarks and its nuclear showdown with the United States, Iranian students are developing an international reputation as science superstars. Stanford’s administrators aren’t the only ones to notice. Universities across Canada and Australia, where visa restrictions are lower, report a big boom in the Iranian recruits; Canada has seen its total number of Iranian students grow 240 percent since 1985, while Australian press reports point to a fivefold increase over the past five years, to nearly 1,500.
Iranian students from Sharif and other top schools, such as the University of Tehran and the Isfahan University of Technology, have also become major players in the international Science Olympics, taking home trophies in physics, mathematics, chemistry and robotics. As a testament to this newfound success, the Iranian city of Isfahan recently hosted the International Physics Olympiad—an honor no other Middle Eastern country has enjoyed. That’s because none of Iran’s neighbors can match the quality of its scholars…

 

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water

Washing dishes in the village of Lavason, Iran. All rights reserved.

Let’s not muddy the water.
Imagine that close by a dove
is drinking from it,
or in a distant grove a finch
is washing its wings in it,
or in some village it fills a storage jar.

Let’s not muddy the water.
Perhaps this flowing stream runs
by the foot of a poplar tree
and eases some heart’s grief.
A dervish, perhaps,
has moistened his crust in it.

A young woman stood on its bank—
the water doubled her beauty.
Let’s not muddy the water.

How delicious this water is!
How refreshing this stream!
Those people who live upstream,
how fortunate they are!
May their springs be ever fresh,
their cows always fertile!
I haven’t seen their village,
But surely, God’s foot is on
their threshing floor and
the moonlight there illuminates
the width of their words.
The walls are low in the village upstream.
Blue there is really blue.
When buds blossom, they know, those people.
What a village it must be!
May its streets be filled with music!

Those people by the stream
Have left it clear.
Let’s not muddy the water.

-Sohrab Sepehri

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