Overseas Study Support Project: Iran Nanotech Camp 2014
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- Registration Date : 2014-11-19
When I was notified about my admission to the overseas study support project, the first thing I did was Internet search. Searching for “Traveling in Iran” gave me little information except for a few personal trip review on blog. I realized Iran was an unknown territory even in the “sea of information.”
I had to my search with terrifying phrases that were listed in the related search topics, such as “things to remember in Iran,” “axis of evil,” “home to Shia Islam,” “nuclear state” and “economic sanction.” There is still no direct flight to Iran from Korea.
Transfer in Doha, Qatar or Istanbul, Turkey is a must. After over 15 hours of flight, I finally arrived at the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran and the foreign female tourists on board put on hijab to cover their blonde hair.
The airport was named after Khomeini, who was the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which saw the overthrow of the Pahlavi Dynasty. This religious revolution made Iran recognize the unity of church and state, run by the religious leaders of Shia Muslims. The Tehran Boulevard of Gangman in Seoul was named after the city celebrating the establishment of sister-city relationships of Tehran and Seoul in 1977 during the pre-revolutionary time.
The unique dry air of the Middle East embraced me at the airport building. Looking at Persian alphabet that I cannot make out the begging and the end, I ed to realize I was actually in Tehran. I left the airport remembering my high school history teacher’s comment that the Persian Empire enabled islamic culture to blossom all over the ancient eastern world and Iranians still take pride in being descendents of the great Empire.
The purpose of this visit was to participate in the international conference of the Asia Nano Camp (ANC) 2014, co-hosted by the Asia Nano Forum and the Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council. At the ANC, young nano researchers from Asian countries including Korea, Japan, China, Thailand and New Zealand gather to discuss and establish directions and strategies for future nanotech cooperation.
The seventh ANC was held for eight days in Tehran this year from October 8 to 15, with a number of workshops, lectures, presentations, poster exhibitions and networking activities among researchers from around 200 nations.
Taking lectures for instance, they served as a good opportunity to expand understanding of nanotech with many sub-topics from basics of nanotech to solar cells, nano-filtration technology for water disposal, graphene-based synthetic materials, nano-medicine and medical nano-technology.
On the last day of the event, there was a symposium, in which business plans for measures to use nanotech for overcoming global issues, such as water and air pollution, energy shortage, hunger, disease, wastewater and scrap waste, were introduced.
For this symposium, teams of three to four researchers gathered and had heated discussions every night at the hotel lobby. The long schedules throughout the event period were demanding, but passion of young researchers seemed to overpower exhaustion. My team won the second prize, narrowly missing first place.
It was extremely lucky for me to attend the ANC 2014 in every aspect. Looking back, every experience was useful. Still, if I could ask for more, a little more time to learn about the country would have been great. The tight schedule did not allow me to accomplish my mission of walking down the Seoul Street in the center of Tehran.
I noticed that a Korean TV Series “Jumong” is gaining huge popularity with more than 80 percent of ratings in Iran, following the previous success of another show titled “Dae Jang Geum.”
In fact, when I told them where I was from, their first comment was about Jumong. Iran remains to be a kind and friendly country in my mind that greeted me with warm welcoming. If I ever have a chance to go back to Tehran, I would like to stand on Seoul Street and shout out “Go UST!”