Dr. Ebtekar’s Special Lecture on Environment Challenges and Opportunities, at United Nations University Headquarters, Shibuya – Tokyo, on Thursday April 3rd 2014.
An impressive special lecture was held by the UNU inviting the Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar on April 3rd, 2014. Dr. Ebtekar also sits as the Head of the Department of Environment of Islamic Republic of Iran.
On the lecture, entitled “Environment Challenges and Opportunities”, Dr. Ebtekar underlined the current mindset of people in the world in particular on global issues of environment. As Dr. Ebtekar’s distinguished background as a scientist, journalist, activist, and politician, she touched upon theoretical (academic) aspect first, then followed by examining the practical and policy level.
The urgent needs of West Asia region, as Iran located, are the issues on extremism, peacemaking process, tolerance, moderation and capability of human race threatening environment. Dr. Ebtekar noted one of the Iranian philosopher who underlines the philosophy of light that intertwined with environmental issues. Light is as the essence of life. As she mentioned, this concept has its religious foundation in the Holy Quran. Allah is the Light of lights, on heaven and earth. Creation is seen as the succession event of the original Light of lights. This Iranian philosophy of light was influenced by Zoroastrianism on the ancient Iranian history, the Greek philosophy and Islamic philosophy. This coexistence created common mindset, root, understanding, and joint efforts to protect global environment, peacemaking and extremism prevention in Iranian perspective. Dr Ebtekar asserted the need to revisit the current mindset and policy, to “re-embrace” the notion on sacrifice and altruism. As she noted, “we forget to these values in today’s world”.
The recent Iran national election has opened new opportunity as the elected President Rouhani puts forward promotion of Iranian moderation, establishment of healthier relation to international community, and contribution to ‘the world against violence and extremism”. This prominent agenda, as Dr. Ebtekar noted, also derived from the UN general assembly mandates.
Iran, especially the capital city Teheran has been facing several environment issues on industrialization, urbanization, decreasing of forest, chemical warfare in soil, and decreasing of petroleum quality. Teheran with 7.8 million inhabitants is also facing agricultural unsustainable practices. Therefore, Iranian government proposed collaboration joint effort with the Japanese government on environmental issues, particularly on air pollution eradication, energy efficiency and biodiversity lost (Iran has the only remains Asian cheetah and Iranian football team will wear cheetah emblem on their costume on the 2014 World Cup to promote Asian cheetah conservation). This joint effort also promotes green economy concept that is expected could enhance environment standard within the both countries.
Dr. Ebtekar closed her lecture by a beautiful poem, as written below;
“You are the traveler,
You are the path,
You are the destination,
Be careful, never to lose the way to yourself.”