Webinar meeting of the members the Association of the State Universities of the Caspian Region Countries (ASUCRC)

The special meeting of the rectors of the members ofthe Association of the State Universities and Research Centers of the Caspian Region was held on Monday, July 7 in the form of a virtual conference, hosted by the University of Guilan as the director of the association. Rectors of universities and research centers of Iran, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Russia and Kazakhstan were present in the meeting. The speakers of the meeting included Dr. Koohian, deputy director of the Center of International Scientific Cooperation in the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, and Dr. Najafi, head of the scientific representative of Iran in Russia & CIS.

At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Ahmad Razi, Chancellor of the University of Guilan, welcomed the members to the virtual meeting, and briefly summarized what University of Guilanhad done in its 9 months as the Director of the Association of Universities and Research Centers of the Caspian Region Countries. He noted that three committees of research, student, and educational affairs have been established and the presidents of Astrakhan State University, Imam Khomeini International University, and Sari University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources were identified as the presidents of the committees, respectively.

Following Dr. Razi's speech, Professor Yuri Pimenov, the executive director of the association, thanked Dr. Razi for holding the meeting, and once again emphasized how Russia and Russian universitiessupport Iran, and expressed how he strongly opposed unilateral and inhumane sanctions against the people of Iran during the current crisis. He, then, reviewed the activities of the members of the association according to what was approved at the 22nd summit, and offered his suggestions for the members of the association during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Then, the presidents of the afore-mentioned committees talked about the activities of their respective committees and announced their ongoing plans. A report on creating a platform for scholars of the members, a report on the scientific webinars held by the members of the association and cooperation between the members, unveiling a poster for a photography, film and writing contest about the Caspian Sea, and providing a list of future programs for the members of the association were among the agenda discussed by the rectors of the committees.

Dr. Badma Salaev, rector of the Kalmyk State University and the host of the next assembly, asked for the next general assembly of the association to be held in April-May 2021, instead of October 2020, due to the Coronavirus outbreak. It was also decided that the members of the association must prepare a plan for a meeting of ministries of science of the 5 countries bordering the Caspian Sea.

The association is comprised of 57 universities, research centers and science and technology parks from Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan which has acted as a platform for regional cooperation between the research centers of the region for the past two decades. Holding joint courses and workshops, having joint research projects, and student and professor exchanges between the members of the association, publishing anISI journal and holding six International Students'Sports Olympiads are among theactivities of the association in recent years.

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