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Cultural Relations 

Between The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Lithuania

 

History of cultural relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Lithuania dates back to the 16th century when first contacts were established between Iran and the Polish-Lithuanian Union. During that time, bilateral relations were more political and economic; however, as Iran was en route the Silk Road, cultural cooperation became indispensable to relations between Iran and Lithuania.

 

Due to direct contacts with the Iranian civilization throughout the history and being influenced indirectly by the Iranian culture through third countries of the Middle Asia and even the Balkans region when it was part of the great Iranian culture and civilization, Lithuania was influenced by the Iranian culture. Perhaps, the first cultural contacts between the two countries were established in the filed of language and the interest among the people of Lithuania in learning Eastern languages including the Persian language. It is said that for the first time, the Persian language was being taught at the University of Vilnius, one of Europes largest universities, in 1826. Although teaching Persian and other Eastern languages such as Arabic were stopped shortly after the closure of the University of Vilnius, Lithuanian Orientalists continued to learn the Persian language. Renowned Lithuanian Orientalist, Aleksandras Chodzka, who was a translator in the Tzarian Russian Embassy in Iran before 1850, authored and translated many books on Iran. He, in fact, contributed greatly to the promotion of the Persian language and culture in Lithuania.

The most important and the first official cultural cooperation agreement between Iran and Lithuania was signed in 1930 under the tile of Friendship Pact. Based on this agreement, Persian language was arranged to be taught at the University of Vilnius. However, it did not happen until 1990 when Lithuania declared independence. Lithuanias Orientalism Center has been teaching the Persian language to students since 2006.      

 

At the present time, the University of Tehran and the University of Vilnius are having cooperation within the framework of a memorandum of understanding signed in 2008. Based on this MoU, the University of Tehran has been obligated to provide sabbaticals and offer short-term and long-term scholarships to Lithuanian students who want to learn the Persian language and culture.

 

 

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