Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution (SCCR)
The Triumph of Islamic Revolution in February 1979, followed by the establishment of Islamic Republic system in Iran, brought about drastic changes in all aspects of society. This is because any development in any system is realized by transforming foundations and structures. Culture, in the meantime, enjoys a unique status so that it is impossible to imagine a change in governing system without a change in governing culture.
Imam Khomeini’s New Year Message on March 21, 1980 must be taken as a turning point in the history of cultural revolution. Paragraph eleven of his message demands “revolutionizing all universities across the country”, “firing university professors linked to the East or West”, and “developing the universities into a safe environment for authoring and teaching higher Islamic sciences”.
Upon formal shutting of the universities in June, Imam Khomeini on June 12, 1980 issued a declaration for establishment of Cultural Revolution Headquarters. Part of his decree reads:
“It is for some time the need for cultural revolution – that is an Islamic issue requested by the Muslim nation – has been highlighted but little has been done in this regard. The Muslim nation, especially the faithful and dedicated university students are concerned about this. They have also expressed concerns on sabotage of the conspirators, instances of which raises its head now and then. The Muslim nation are worried the chance might be missed without any positive work, so that the culture might remain the same as in the past corrupt regime. During the past regime, this fundamentally important center had been put at the disposal of the colonial powers by uncultured and uneducated employers. Sustainability of this catastrophe that is the wish of some groups affiliated to foreign powers, will send a deadly shock throughout the Islamic Revolution and Islamic Republic of Iran. Any moderation in this vital issue is a grave treachery against Islam and against this Muslim country.”
In his decree, Imam Khomeini asked a number of professors at theological schools and universities to establish a headquarters and invite committed experts, Muslim professors, faithful employees and other personalities trusting in the Islamic Republic to lay the foundations of a council to make cultural policies and plans for the future of the universities in accordance with Islamic culture. The council, Imam Khomeini maintained, shall be responsible for selecting eligible, committed and vigilant professors to take care of Islamic educational revolution.
In its handling of university issues, the Cultural Revolution Headquarters, according to Imam Khomeini’s decree, had been obligated to focus activities on the following areas:
- Schooling of university professors and selecting culturally competent professors to teach at the universities
- Formulating college/university student admission programs
- Islamization of university environment and curriculum changes
The above had to be realized to make people appreciate the outcomes.
In September 1983, upon Imam Khomeini’s emphasis on amending and endorsing the headquarters and the need for membership of the state officials in the headquarters, and based upon a proposal by the then president (Ayatollah Khamenei) for full membership at the Cultural Revolution Headquarters, Imam Khomeini appointed some state officials such as the prime minister, minister of culture, minister of higher education, and two students introduced by the Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research (ACECR) as new members of the headquarters.
Reopening of universities and development of higher education centers highlighted the need for promoting the Cultural Revolution Headquarters so that in Nov. 1984 Imam Khomeini amended the headquarters for the second time. This was a rebirth for the headquarters. Part of the decree reads:
“Avoiding influence of Western culture by advancing influence and empowerment of constructive Islamic and national culture, and establishing cultural revolution in all fields across the country require so much effort and endeavor that long years must be spent on fighting the deeply rooted influence of the West. Expressing my thanks to the Cultural Revolution Headquarters I deem it necessary to elevate this institution for more enrichment of Cultural Revolution in the country. Therefore, in addition to all previous members of the Cultural Revolution Headquarters and the heads of three forces, I introduce Hojjat-ul-Eslam Khamenei, Hojjat-ul-Eslam Ardebili, Hojjat-ul-Eslam Rafsanjani, Hojjat-ul-Eslam Mahdavi Kani, Seyed Kazem Akrami minister of education, Reza Davari, Nasrollah Pourjavadi and Mohammad Reza Hashemi as new members of the headquarters.”
The third amendment in the structure of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution happened in 1996. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on Dec. 4, 1996 introduced the new structure of the council while stressing on critical responsibility of SCCR. Part of his message reads:
“The Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution that came to being out of the Cultural Revolution Headquarters by prudent decision of Imam Khomeini, played an active and influential role in cultural policymaking, especially in the universities bearing many fruits. Today, with the development of the country in reconstruction era, and with the growing need to modern science and technology, training efficient researchers, innovators, university professors and specialists, the importance of cultural sector is doubly emphasized. Development of universities and research centers and other higher education centers is a natural response to that demand. The eye-catching growth in the number of university students has assigned a new task for the officials in charge of cultural affairs. They are requested to boost the quality of research and science in these centers and help spiritual upbringing of the students by directing their deeds and creeds.”
Elsewhere in his message, the Supreme Leader pointed to all-out cultural assault of the enemies against Islamic values, authentic national culture and public beliefs:
“All these important and cautionary facts call the cultural officials of the country for more influential policymaking, more endeavor, and more efforts. This should particularly motivate the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution for innovation and initiation because it is at the center of the national campaign to fight illiteracy, scientific backwardness and cultural imitation.”
On March 15, 2003, upon termination of responsibility of the non-institutional members of SCCR, the Supreme Leader appointed new members for a three-year period. Also on May 5, 2007, the Supreme Leader renewed non-institutional members of the council. This opened a new page in the history of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. At this stage SCCR was obligated to compile the comprehensive science roadmap for the nation, cultural engineering, and renovation of the educational system. These achievements paved the laid the ground works for emergence of a society enriched with the Divine blessings.
The last SCCR restructuring was made on June 7, 2011 when the Supreme Leader appointed Messrs. Jannati and Habibi as honorary members, deputy president for scientific and technological affairs, minister of sports and youth, and chairman of the Islamic Culture and Communications Organization as the legal members of the council. He issued orders for the new members of SCCR while asserting program priorities