Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Poetry Session on Peace and Nature

The Center for Peace and Environment convened the Evening of Poetry on Peace and Nature on September 20th 2012 on the International Day of Peace, in Tehran. Prominent poets and personalities attended the 4 hour session. This session was moderated by Soheil Mahmoudi the reknown former TV anchor and poet who eloquently spoke about the importance of this gathering and read poetry from Shafie Kadkani a popular poet on the beauties of nature.

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In the opening of this event Dr. Zahra Rakei , current Head of Iranian Society of Poets spoke about the importance of nature protection and how a culture of peace is necessary to promote environmental protection. Rakei thanked the Center for Peace and Environment for this collaboration and proposed that this event be convened each year as a non- governmental event , on the occasion of the International Day of Peace.
I then spoke on the role that Persian poetry has played in introducing Iranian civilization and culture and promoting dialogue. Iranian  poetry  has a profound human and universal approach. The war against humans and the war against nature have a common root, I noted. We need to reach inner peace before we can come to terms with each other and peace with nature, I said. This poetry session intends to promote a message of peace with nations and nature on behalf of the Iranian nation we hope all conflicts will be resolved with dialogue and understanding, I stressed.
Many poets from across Iran had attended the session and were invited to recite their poetry on the essential aspects of peace and protection of nature.  Some poems were recited along with live classic, jazz or Persian music.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Academic Research and a PhD Thesis

As the pre-scheduled  war games of allied forces began  in the Persian Gulf ,  life proceeds as usual in Tehran. My PhD student defended her thesis on Monday, in the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences at Tarbiat Modares University. She had devoted more than 3.5 years of this degree program to her research.  Her work highlighted the immunological mechanisms involved in endometriosis. Endometriosis is a gynecological disease attributed to alterations in immune system function and also related to diet and environmental factors.  In her work she also studied the effect of Dioxin or TCDD which is a environmental pollutant on mesenchymal stem cells.  This work met the highest standards in terms of the methodology, the assays and techniques involved.
Although sanctions have targeted our economy and have made such leading edge research very difficult and expensive but this has not prevented Iranian researchers from advancing in this direction. Immunology is a rapidly advancing field and research in this field is very costly but also very rewarding in terms of the novel findings with diagnostic and therapeutic value.
Our  first article from this work was published in : The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research  We hope to publish the next phases of this work in the future.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Beautiful Iran , Gahar Lake

Located at the crossroads of the Eur-Asian climates, Iran harbors one of the most diverse flora and fauna in the world. This great biodiversity has created unique attractions and beauties which have been left untouched mostly due to the relatively low number of tourists (in this case a blessing) as well as relative protection and remoteness in most cases. The Gahar Lake located in the Lorestan Province is one of these relatively untouched beauties.  Gahar is a diamond located in the heart of a protected mountainous area.

The Department of Environment is charged with the protection of these lakes and wetlands. In addition to national studies and management projects the DOE also began international cooperation with multilateral agreements like the Ramsar Convention. I have little news of the fate of those projects but I hope they still continue. Drought, low rainfall and weak management has led to the dryness of many lakes and wetlands in the recent years but Gahar still stands as a diamond.