Doctor Ali Eghbali
Professor Ali Eghbali, was a distinguished scholar who traveled to faraway universities to study and brought back to the youth of his beloved country advances in science and technology. Throughout his life he always expressed his unconditional love and dedication for the education of young Iranians. Born in 1911 in Hamedan in a cultured and highly respected family, Ali Eghbali was a student in the advanced Amir Touman Gharegozlou Elementary school in Amzajerd of Hamedan, learning several languages including Farsi, French, Arabic, and Qoranic writings. He continued his education in Tehran in the well-known secondary school of Sarvat and the prestigious School of Darolfonoun. In 1930, he obtained a government scholarship to study Agronomy and Environmental Sciences at the School of Maisons-Alfort, now a part of University of Paris-East, France. He left Europe in1939, torn by World War II and returned to Iran to head a branch of National Agronomy Bank.
From 1947 to 1954 he had several faculty and leading administrative positions in several universities. These included University of Tabriz, the newly opened School of Agriculture of Oroumieh, part of the University of Tabriz. The outcome of his tireless work in the University of Tabriz was graduation of record number of over 600 engineers, who joined the work force of the country. Few years later, in 1952, the School of Agriculture of University of Shiraz was established under his supervision.
In 1954 Professor Eghbali was invited by the United Nation Educational Scientific Cultural Organization, the UNESCO Paris branch, and was given a grant to investigate Iranian underground waters and its applications on irrigation of Iran’s water-deprived regions, a much needed research field for this country that has its agriculture hampered by low amount of rain. With this grant, he returned to the University of Paris, La Sorbonne Faculty of Sciences, and obtained a Ph.D. in Hydrogeology, in 1954.
In 1956 Doctor Ali Eghbali while Professor at the Tehran University was commissioned by Khuzestan’s representatives in the National Assembly to institute the new University of Jundi Shahpur in Khuzestan. With persistent efforts of Professor Eghbali Jundi Shahpur School of Agriculture was established in Ahwaz. This became possible after Doctor Ali Eghbali obtained a legendary 1000-hectare Mola-Sani agro-land, endowed by the National Iranian Oil Company. This center is presently named the University of Ramine.
In 1961, again invited by UNESCO, Doctor Ali Eghbali returned to the University of Paris with a Project Grant to study the sources of the Parisian Seine River and water supplies in southern Paris. The research study, co-investigated with Doctor Magnine, resulted in a thesis accepted with “Excellence” and “Honors” by the University of Paris, published later in 1967 in France. Doctor Manuchehr Eghbal, the Director of Paris branch of UNESCO at that time, promoted him for this outstanding scientific achievement to the rank of Deputy-Director of Paris branch of UNESCO. Doctor Ali Eghbali then continued his prodigious scholarly career for two more decades, as Chairman and Professor of Hydrogeology & Underground Waters in the University of Tehran.
Despite his prolific academic activities, Doctor Ali Eghbali never forgot his beloved native city of Hamedan, where Eghbali’s family history is part of the history of the City. At that time other than the Capital and the Central Province, regions were deprived of institutions of higher education. Filled with love for his native city of Hamedan, in 1967 he founded, using Eghbali family’s properties, the Agricultural School of Hamedan. This was the second school of agriculture in the country after the School of Agriculture of Tehran University in Karaj. While he was the dean of his private agricultural school of Hamedan, located 200 miles South of Tehran, he relentlessly from 1967 to 1978 traveled between Tehran and Hamedan two times per week. During these years, the School of Agriculture of Hamedan graduated 1200 engineers that joined the country’s work force. The School now is a prestigious part of the new University of Avicenna of Hamedan, one of the greatest Universities of regional countries.
In 1994, Professor Ali Eghbali, established in Hamedan a second nonprofit higher educational institution, the University College of Omran and Tosseeh (UCOT). UCOT was oriented in training engineers needed for local communities of the Eastern Region of the country, where Hamedan is located. As a fervent advocate of local economy he believed that the country will reach economic independence if local communities progress enough in prosperity in such a way that people will enthusiastically stay and work in their native regions. In year 2000 Doctor Ali Eghbali’s name was added to the Iranian National Society Hall of Fame of Distinguished and Honorable Scholars.
The tremendous scholarly and academic body of work of Doctor Ali Eghbali however is not fully known by the Iranian public and scholarly societies. A yet unpublished work is the Persian to French translation of the complete writings of Farid-ed-Din Attar, a 12th Century Persian mystic, philosopher, and poet. These French translations, to be published, will significantly contribute to worldwide recognition of Persian culture and literature. Doctor Ali Eghbali and his late French co-author worked for many decades to complete this translation, communicating by correspondence between Iran and France. They did not survive the public recognition of their wonderful work.
Professor Ali Eghbali, the founder of Higher Education in the Eastern Region of the Country past away
ISNA, the Iranian Student News Agency of Kermanshah, reported the passing of Professor Ali Eghbali. Doctor Pap-Zan of the School of Agriculture, Razi University of Kermanshah, solemnly announced the loss and addressed his condolences to the Iranian Scientific Community. In his message, Doctor Pap-Zan expressed: “Professor Ali Eghbali this symbol of faith, devotion, and love for the Iranian youth, has left us to join the Creator. This exceptional educator dedicated a century-long lifespan to serve the youth of his country. He was the founder of the Science of Agriculture in the Eastern Region of Iran. The loss of a great scientist & a friend of the people in History and in any Geographic location brings sorrow for the communities. In last days of the year 2013 few days before spring, Iranian scientific community lost a star. The students of Professor Ali Eghbali offer their condolences to all who had the privilege to know him as a teacher, a colleague, or a friend. Should his love and dedication be an inspiration for educators and students”