October 27, 2008

Skorton to Travel to Iran Next Month for Exchange

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President David Skorton will be traveling to Iran next month as one of six delegates being sent by the Association of American Universities. The group was organized in response to an invitation from Saeed Sohrabpour, the president of Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, according to Robert Berdahl, president of the AAU.
The delegation is one of a series of initiatives being sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. The program has organized the international exchange of American and Iranian scientists for the discussion of “specific topics of mutual scientific interest,” according to the AAU. Additional travel expenses will be paid for by the Lounsbery Foundation, a philanthropic organization that aims to “enhance national strengths in science and technology.”
Skorton will be accompanied by the presidents of Carnegie Mellon University, Rice University, the University of Florida, the University of Maryland-College Park and the University of California-Davis. According to the AAU, some of the presidents were chosen because they have “been involved in previous scientific and other exchanges with Iran.”
The program will host meetings with academic leaders in the nation as well as with faculty in engineering and science.
“Prior to the Iranian revolution in 1979, a very high percentage of the faculty at Iranian universities was educated in the United States; since that time, and especially since 9/11, that number has declined dramatically,” Berdahl stated in a release. “We believe it is important to maintain and renew academic ties between our two countries.”