The Islamic Teacher's Association (ITA) is a non-governmental organization working to restore the rights and promote the welfare of teachers in Iran. They have reformist tendencies and they usually speak out against the one sided policies of the government against the welfare of teachers. Some of them have been arrested for protesting the policies and some have been charged inciting unrest among the teachers. The Ministry of Education is the largest ministry in the cabinet and while we have more than 18 million students enrolled in different levels the ministry also has about 1 million employees, teachers and personnel. There are many shortages that we still have in terms of budget, appropriate schools in remote parts of the country and other challenges , this government has the worst scorecard as compared to other governments in dealing with the issues facing this sector and the woes of the teachers.
I was invited to speak at a gathering of 2000 members of the ITA in the south of Tehran. It was after Iftar and I was actually exhausted but I began with a short excerpt from one of my lectures on psychoneuroimmunology on the formation, storage and retrieval of memory in the brain. New theories on the physiological basis for memory and learning focus on several functions which could enhance diversity and thus such a large pool of diverse information. The proliferation of neurons, the diversity of DNA and and diversity of proteins and chemicals produced are all candidates for memory formation and storage. I told them how research on this matter is still on the frontiers of science and how there is still much to understand about this mystery of human nature and physiology.
I also spoke about the difficult conditions that the country faces in terms of inflation and unemployment and stressed on the importance of making informed choices on the basis of a correct understanding of the circumstances that we face in the upcoming Presidential elections next spring. I told them that the fruits of the Islamic Democracy that we enjoy are obtained as a result of the efforts of those who have sacrificed and fought for liberty and independence in Iran. We need to make the best and prevent despair and indifference from gaining control over the political conditions.
After the speech many of the attendees were asking me whether former President Khatami would stand as a candidate for the next round. I responded by telling them that he had not decided and asked them to pray so that God would help him make the correct choice.
I will be attending the IUCN Congress in Barcelona next week. I will be speaking at a plenary session on Spirituality and Conservation on the 9 th of October. I will be also meeting with members of the press on the sidelines of that event. I will give you more on that as soon as possible.