Ali Akbar Ash'ari who is visiting South Africa, in his meeting with the head of that country's National Library, John K. Tsebe and his deputies on Wednesday talked about issues of their shared specialty.
The head of the South African National Library during the meeting praised the advancements in Iran in mending, preservation and digitalizing the source books and the development of specialized scientific expertise in the field of national documentation and book keeping, expressing hope that South Africa, too, would taking advantage of Iran's experience, manage to renovate and expand the sphere of its specialized book keeping and documentation activities.
"As custodians of published national heritage in our respective countries, we are occupying critical positions. We are in the business of information dissemination and information plays a critical role in human life," Tsebe was quoted by the Islamic republic news agency as saying.
Ash'ari, too, said the Iranian side's aim was to help the African countries to improve economically, in the areas of science and education.
"We are here to invest and to share knowledge," he said. This includes assisting each other in preservation, digitalization of library materials and exchanging technical information Services."
The two sides after their expert level negotiations signed a cooperation MoU on behalf of the two countries' national libraries.
The MoU has several articles, including the ones on cooperation in mending damaged documents, digitalizing them, joint training of staffs in the field of mending documents, exchange of source books, digitalizing them, presenting joint workshops for staffs in charge of documentation and national book keeping, sponsoring joint exhibitions, publication of scientific articles in one another's specialized magazines and taking advantage of one anther's national media services aimed at introducing the other country's national libraries.
Also present at the meeting there were the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Pretoria Asghar Ebrahimi-Asl, Iran's Cultural Attaché Mohammad Hossein Ahmadi, Managing Director of National Library of Iran's International Relations Office Hamed Yari, and representatives from both countries' art and culture ministries and mass media.
At the end of the ceremony the Iranian delegation visited the various parts of the National Library of South Africa,
Ash'ari had before arriving in South Africa visited Zimbabwe and on Monday he had met that country's Minister of Culture, Education and Sports David Cold Art, and some Zimbabwean cultural personalities. Following that meeting he signed another technical MoU with his Zimbabwean counterpart.
The singing of these two memoranda of understanding with these African countries was in line with the will of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution for expansion and deepening of relations with the south, and particularly the African countries, based on which the current year is named Africa Year in Iran's foreign diplomacy.