• Science and Society (2),

  • Preventing and Responding to Crises (2),

  • Ecology and Energy (2), and

  • Higher Education and Research Challenges (2).

Additional activities have included the following:

  • individual exchanges in both directions involving 25 travelers,

  • six joint planning meetings,

  • visits to Iran by four American Nobel Laureates, and

  • a three-year pilot project in Iran on food-borne disease surveillance.

In 2000, the leaderships of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine met with counterparts from the Iranian Academy of Sciences and Academy of Medical Sciences to begin to chart the initial engagement course. Leaders of these institutions met several additional times during the early 2000s to help ensure that the engagement effort was responsive to scientific interests of the two countries, was flexible to accommodate unanticipated administrative problems, and was appropriate in a volatile political environment. Throughout the decade, these leaders played important roles in ensuring continuation of the program as the navigation of projects through increasingly hostile political environments became more and more difficult.

The engagement activities were complicated to arrange. The workshops, for example, usually have taken 12 to 18 months to organize, despite efforts of the sponsoring organizations to show near-term results. More than a dozen activities were either cancelled or postponed due to administrative issues that arose during the planning process. Representatives of the two governments as well as the partner organizations in the two countries repeatedly expressed support for the program. However, obtaining visas on time, processing license applications in accordance with U.S. regulations concerning economic sanctions, and arranging for the presence at events of both key scientific leaders and younger rising researchers were always difficult. Also, obtaining financial support for engagement activities that often seemed uncertain has been challenging.

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