'The fact that we signed our agreement with Amirkabir University even before the sanctions against Iran were partially lifted, puts us in an excellent position for further co-operative initiatives. One factor that favourably influenced the DAAD's decision to fund the student exchange scheme was our early presence in the country,' said Vice President Ursula Reutner. 'There are many indications that Iran's strategic importance in global politics is strongly increasing and that the country's international political and economic relations are continuing to improve. In such a constellation, academic exchanges can prepare the ground for closer ties.'
This is the first German-Iranian university partnership in a technical field. The Head of the DAAD Information Centre in Tehran, Dennis Schroeder, said: 'University partnerships such as this one between Passau and Amir Kabir also make a difference in the context of the gradual opening-up of Iran to the rest of the world. On the one hand, they build on long-standing cultural and academic relationships between Germany and Iran, while on the other hand promoting academic and cultural exchange, dialogue and understanding – aspects that today seem more important than ever.'
Founded in 1958, Amirkabir University was named after the 19th-century Iranian reformer Mirza Taqi Khan Amir-Nezam, who was also known as Amir Kabir – the 'Great Prince'. Amirkabir University is among the top five in Iran. This fits neatly with the standing of Passau's Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics, which was recently ranked among the top five computer science faculties in the German-speaking world in the latest CHE rankings. 'Iranian universities nowadays take top places in the Middle East and beyond, which is a direct result of significant investments in the education sector over many years,' said Professor Joachim Posegga, the International Relations Officer of the Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics at Passau, who established the Iranian contacts. 'Our faculty is very excited about working with the highly qualified students of our partner in Iran in the future. We are also planning to bring over visiting professors and lecturers, who will present short-term lectures as part of the partnership programme.'
Up to three Iranian students will receive a DAAD scholarship each semester. 'The students are highly motivated to take up the exchange offer, and we have already received numerous letters from Tehran,' said Professor Posegga. In future, students from Passau will also be able to spend a semester in Iran. 'I would be very happy if our students recognise this opportunity to experience a country that is largely unknown to us,' said Professor Ursula Reutner.