Recognizing Influential People Of The Past, Present and Future
A Culture of Achievements
Global Citizens recognizes the cultural heritage of Persia which is in part characterized by the people of ancient Persia who exhibited a spirit of determination in the pursuit of multi-disciplinary scholarship, humanitarian policy, innovation, enlightenment, and artistic expression.
Over the course of 3,000 years and into the 19th century the Persian legacy as the “Cradle of Civilization” has continued to be source of global inspiration giving rise to some of the world’s most thought-provoking scholars, ground breaking theories, scientific discoveries, technology breakthroughs artistic genius accessible to our global civilization.
The fruits of the ancient Persian think tanks have often served as a prototypes which future generations have honed and perfected resulting in outcomes that have dramatically improved the lives of people around the world.
The three sections of Global Citizens honor the ingenuity of just some of the people of Persian descent beginning with the ancient Persians and continuing with recognition of the significant progress afforded by the innovative citizens of the present day, then highlighting brilliant, potentially Nobel prize winning scholars who possess the Persian culture’s spirit of determination to carry the legacy of leadership and innovation far into the future.
Over a decade ago, Dr. Rouzbeh Yassini formalized his vision of giving voice to the Persian culture of innovation through the creation SINA, a program at Harvard University. The name SINA stands for the Spirit of Iranian Noted Achievers as well as an allusion to Abu Ali Sina (known to the Latin West as Avicenna), the visionary Persian polymath whose vast contributions to medieval intellectual history are virtually unparalleled. The SINA program has 3 chapters dedicated to motivating the level of achievement exemplified by the innovative Persian global citizens of the past to inspire the thought leaders of the present and future.
Saadi’s deep understanding of the world transcends time and space. His path influenced humans of all time in places such as France, Spain, Germany, Russia, and England.
Lazare Carnot, known as the organizer of victory in French revolutionary wars who rose to overcome brutality, was inspired by Saadi’s despise for brutality of sovereigns. Lazare maintained Saadi’s name in his coming generations including his son, Sadi Carnot and Marie Francois Sadi Carnot who became French statesman and the 5th president of the third Republic.
Ibu-e-Sina, or Avicenna as he is known in Europe, was the most famous in a series of Muslim physician–philosophers who preserved Greco-Roman knowledge and wisdom during the Dark Ages which followed the collapse of the Roman Empire. Having enriched it with their own observations and interpretations, they then made it available again five centuries later to Western Civilization at the coming of the Renaissance.
Contribution by Mahta Barekatain
Abu Ali Sina, also known as Avicenna is a Persian philosopher who belonged to the Islamic Golden Age. He was born in around 980 in what is now known as Uzbakistan. He wrote about everything from physics and music to theology and astronomy to logic and medicine. In 1025, Avicenna completed his most famous work, Al Qanun fel Teb on the Canon of Medicine. His book was divided into five volumes with each of the book dealing with a separate subject. While the first and the second book discussed physiology, pathology, and hygiene, the third and fourth dealt with the methods of treating diseases as diverse as depression, meningitis, and smallpox. There are even detailed chapters on more common problems like headache and flu. The fifth book described the composition and preparation of remedies in detail.
Avicenna also wrote The Book of Healing, in which he discusses the mind and its existence. He writes about the mind-body relationship, sensation, perception, etc. He also writes that the strong negative emotions can have negative effects on the body’s biological functions and can even lead to death in severe cases. Maybe that is why he often used psychological methods to treat his patients.
In 1037, Avicenna died in Hamadan after freeing his slaves and bestowing his goods on the poor. He always said that: “I prefer a short life with width to a narrow one with length”. Today, he has been recognized by both East and West as one of the great figures in intellectual history.
Known as “the second master” of philosophy, Abū Naṣr al-Fārābī was one of the leader thinkers of medieval Islam and the greatest philosopher after Aristotle. More than a hundred of his discourses that were devoted to logic, metaphysics, ethics, political and social philosophy, music and medicine have survived to our time.
He was the first to systematize music on a mathematical basis and demonstrated it as a direction of science. His “Kitâb al-musiqâ al-kabîr” or Great Book of Music is the most important medieval musical book in Islamic lands. According to some scientists of those times, it was Farabi’s works on natural science that led Europe to the beginning of the renaissance. His work thereby became a symbol of unity and mutual understanding between the eastern and western cultures.
He was not only a translator, but also developed his philosophical doctrines in Arabic; consequently, Greece philosophy got an Arabic equivalent. Scholars believe that Arabic philosophical vocabulary reached its peak in Farabi’s papers. Farabi’s humanist worldview is a coherent system covering the problems of science, religion, sociology, logic, ethics, and aesthetics.
In the center of the concept of virtuous society is a theme of man, his intellectual and moral perfection, the desire for personal and social happiness, and the search for a better future. He systematized social and political views and united them in a common work, called the “Book of the Opinions of the Inhabitants of the Virtuous City”. In this book, he articulated that if the government of a city-state is educated and fair, all the residents would be happy; therefore, people, particularly leaders, must constantly be in the spiritual search and strive for moral self-improvement.
Farabi compares the city to a body where each part of it perfectly performs its assigned function, working together harmoniously to achieve common goals. To this date, his moral characteristics necessary for statesmen, the love of truth, nobility, and greatness of character, has not lost its value and meaning.
Farabi, as a philosopher of civilizations, refers to all man-kind, irrespective of religious affiliation or national origin, urging them to unite efforts for the sake of a better life.
“A man in eternal exile” Their thirst had quenched them, there was no sip of water to drink and no piece of bread to eat. His children were sick and weak and his wife, Sarah, who was pregnant with her last child, was unconscious in howdah2. Sheikh heard an inner voice, like a thunderstorm, he was screaming: “Was not it better to surrender to the willingness of tyrants? And he replied: “Shame on me if I submit to humiliation!”
Sadr al-Din al-Shirazi (Mulla Sadra) is perhaps the single most important and influential philosopher in the Muslim world in the last four hundred years. The author of over forty works, he was the culminating figure of the major revival of philosophy in Iran in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Devoting himself almost exclusively to metaphysics, he constructed a critical philosophy which brought together Peripatetic, Illuminationist and gnostic philosophy along with Shi’ite theology within the compass of what he termed a ‘metaphilosophy’, the source of which lay in the Islamic revelation and the mystical experience of reality as existence.