Statues of Semmelweis and Avicenna are symbols of friendly cooperation between Hungary and Iran
01. 12. 2015.
Statues of the 11th century scientist Avicenna and Hungarian physician Ignác Semmelweis were unveiled at a conference at the Tehran University of Medical Science on Tuesday, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the death of Semmelweis. At the conference Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that the two scientists are not only symbols of science, but also of friendly cooperation between Hungary and Iran.

In his address to university professors and students, the Prime Minister – who is currently on an official visit to Iran – said that “Hungary approaches Iran with respect and high esteem”.

Mr. Orbán said that it is an honour for a statue to have been erected in memory of “the saviour of mothers” Ignác Semmelweis in the grounds of the University. Describing the famous Hungarian physician, he said that his fate was also typically Hungarian: his discoveries and the introduction of strict hygiene procedures brought him many enemies. “This is the Hungarian sense of life: you want to do something good for the world, and the first thing which happens is that you are rewarded with new enemies”, he explained.

Praising the Persian scientist Avicenna, Mr. Orbán highlighted that for centuries medical students studied healing from the scientist’s encyclopaedia “Canon of Medicine”. He added that the achievements of Semmelweis and Avicenna have left significant imprints on universal medical science.

Speaking about Hungary, the Prime Minister said that in the EU Hungarians are either considered the most eastern Europeans or the most western people from the East. Mr. Orbán explained that through this characterisation others would like to indicate that Hungarians are incomers to Europe; this is indeed the case, he added. He went on to say that ever since Hungarians’ arrival “we have been trying to combine the wisdom brought from the East with the rationality of the West”. He said that this endeavour has brought about a unique Hungarian way of thinking, which gives the world artists and scientists in much greater numbers than would be expected from a country with a population the size of Hungary’s.

In closing, Mr. Orbán said that this school year 1,116 Iranian students are studying at Hungarian universities, most of them at Semmelweis University itself.

To conclude his visit to Iran, the Prime Minister will meet President Hassan Rouhani, the highest ranking political and religious authority in Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President of the Expediency Discernment Council Hashemi Rafsanjani.