Iran Scout Organization

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File:Iran Scout Organization membership badge.png
Membership badge of the Iran Scout Organization

Iran is one of 35 countries where Scouting exists (be it embryonic or widespread) but where there is no National Scout Organization which is a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement at the present time.


Scouting in Iran (سازمان پیش آهنگی ایران) was founded by volunteers and established by Sir Mirza Ahmad Aminzadeh in 1925, and formally developed in 1928 as a department of the Ministry of Education, directed by the government, which at the time engendered a lack of public support. It was first recognized as a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement that year. Despite obstacles, Aminzadeh continued his work, followed by Mr. Seyed Reza Akhavi.

The first term of leadership classes was held in May 1935 for fifteen days, at Camp Manzariyeh at Bahonar. Forty leaders from Tehran and forty-four from other cities participated. During that summer, Scouting laws and Promises were formulated.

Gradually, Scouting activity expanded all over the country, but was suddenly suppressed when in August 1941 Britain and the USSR invaded Iran, arrested Reza Shah and sent him into exile during World War II. In 1943, the government became interested in Scouting movement. The Ministry of Culture was in direct control of Scouting, working with new plans and focus. in October, 1943, an American expert, Mr. Gibson, was invited to Iran to manage Scouting and the Physical Education Organization. However, during the next eleven years, only one or two small groups were functioning. Later notables of Iranian Scouting Ebrahim Sadri, Jalil Ketabi and others were active in this difficult period, and their interest and effort would assist in Scouting's later rebirth.

In 1953 Dr. Hossein Banai, recently returned from university in the United States, degreed in Psychology and Physical Education, became the commissioner of the Iran Scout Organization (سازمان پیش آهنگی ایران). Dr. Banai started the new movement with great enthusiasm and held the first course of Scout leader training. The Iran Scout Organization movement faced many social problems and obstacles, but with great enthusiasm and hard effort by Dr. Banai, the Iran Scout Organization achieved several successes.

Iran became a member of the World Bureau of the World Organization of the Scout Movement for the second time in 1955, under the direction of Dr. Banai. The first National Jamboree of Iran was held in 1956. In the late 1950s, more than 15,000 boys joined Scouting in Iran. The Majlis of Iran passed an act in 1958 recognizing Iranian Scouting as an independent national association. 1958 was a busy year for Iranian Scouting as the next national jamboree was held, with 4,000 Scouts participating, as well as Scouts from Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, England, Japan, Germany and Americans living in Iran; and Scouts established a small poultry farm for fundraising at the national Scout campsite at Manzarieh, at the foot of the Alborz Mountains outside Teheran, as well as fields and greenhouses for flower-raising. At the meeting of the International Committee in Athens in August 1958, Manzarieh (meaning "pleasant prospect") was chosen as the site of an international Scout training center, similar to Kandersteg in Switzerland, and deputy camp chiefs from around the world were invited to staff and run the training courses. During the 1950s, the focus was on introducing Scouting in rural, agrarian districts, and by 1961, Iran had a total membership of 21,829 Scouts.

In 1962, the first Scout Congress was held at Camp Bahonar, Manzarieh, and representatives of all cities participated.

In 1963, aside from the annual Scout High Council, the second Nationwide Scout Congress was held in Tehran, and all cultural executive directors of all cities participated.

1970s membership badge of Scouting in Iran

In 1965, Dr. Banai was awarded the Bronze Wolf, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, awarded by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting.

In 1966, Manzariyeh was finally recognized as an international Scout training center; Dr. Banai became one of 12 members of the World Scout Committee; and Mr. Ali Hashemi established the Scout Supporting Association.

A new national headquarters was completely constructed and furnished in 1973. In the 1970s, Iranian Scouts assisted the Red Lion and Sun Society in blood drives and first aid work, hosted the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference in 1976, and collected books for literacy drives. Scout houses, used as meeting places, training centers, hostels and local headquarters, could be found in every major city during the period, and in 1975 there were 262,702 Scouts.

At that time, the Iranian Scout organization was one of the strongest Scout's organizations in the world. Iran served as a model for other Scout associations in desert areas, with its publication of "The Stone Badge" by Ebrahim Sadri, full of Scoutcraft for Scouts living in areas where there is little wood. The Iranian Scouting uniform of that period consisted of a khaki shirt and trousers, short for summer, long for winter. The vision of the Iran Scout Organization at that time brought hope, as this organization brought honor to Iran. There was a single, unified, interfaith and joint (but not coeducational) Scouting and Guiding movement in Iran, which grew for many years and had 20 Scouting campsites in different provinces, until the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1979.

File:Iran 1979 World Scout Jamboree participant badge.png
participant badge intended for the 15th World Jamboree

15th World Jamboree

The 15th World Jamboree was scheduled to be held in Neyshâbûr, Iran in July 1979, at the 10 square kilometre Omar Khayyám Scout Park, near the Afghan and Turkmen borders. The Second Asia-Pacific Jamboree was held at the site in preparation, in the summer of 1977. However, the destabilizing events of the Islamic Revolution cancelled the 15th World Jamboree near the end of 1978. Instead, the World Organization announced the "World Jamboree Year" by holding several international World Jamboree Year camps in Canada, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States that took up the momentum.

Until the Islamic Revolution, there were American Boy Scouts in Teheran, serving in the Damavand District of the Direct Service branch of the Boy Scouts of America, which supports units around the world.

1980s membership badge of Scouting in Iran

Iranian Scouting difficulties and rebirth

Since the 1970s, Iranian Scouting has faced difficulties, and lost WOSM membership. The government placed restraints on Scouting during the 1980s, and the wars that Iran became involved in took into the military many Scout-age boys, as well as leaders.

On February 12, 1979, after establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, thousands of Scouts and leaders were gathered in Feizieh School in Qom, to meet Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, at which time Khomeini said, "Scouting must stay on and continue its activities."

However, his explicit and clear command was disregarded, when in 1987, the Islamic Parliament cancelled the Iran Scout Organization with one or two opposing votes.

The 35th World Scout Conference, convened in Durban, South Africa from July 26 to 30, 1999, voted to remove Iran from membership because the national Scout organization had ceased to exist.

Finally, one of the former Scouts, who was interested in Scouting activity and was present to listen to Khomeini's speech about Scouting, decided to start Scouting activity in Iran again. This person was Mr. Mohsen Zanjani, now the director of reborn Scouting activity in Iran. Born in Tehran in 1925, Zanjani lived his childhood and adolescence with the older Scouters, and learned much Scoutcraft from them. Because of his drive, he served as patrol leader and Scoutmaster, and became a teacher and director of Air Scouting in the earlier period.

In 2003, the Iranian Scouting Organization started activity in the field of youth development, social skills, and training young people physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. All of these activities are non-governmental, and Mr. Zanjani, the founder and director of this organization, has responsibility for all activities. There is an Iran Scout Organization Constitution which states that "all of the activities of the Iranian Scouting Organization are voluntary, educational, non-political and non-profitable... all about young people with no discrimination regarding about their race or beliefs. The members should follow the goals and the methods of the director of the Iranian Scouting Organization, and also the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

The Iranian Scouting uniform of the present period likely has longer shirt sleeves and full-length trousers, in accordance with Islamic edicts.

Iranian Scouting uniform in the 1960s

Ideals and program

The Cub Scout Motto is Koushesh Kon!, translating as "Try Hard!" in Persian (equivalent to 'Do Your Best'). Cub Scouts were known as Shirbach'cheh, literally "Lion's Sons" in Persian, but carrying the meaning 'brave children'.

The Scout Motto is Aamaadeh Baash, translating as "Be Prepared" in Persian. The Persian noun for Scouts is Pishahangi Pesharan, and Senior Scouts are known as "Salaran".

The Outdoors Code is "As an Iranian, I will do my best to be clean in my outdoor manners, be careful with fire, be considerate in the outdoors, and be conservation-minded."

Membership badge of Girl Scouting in Iran

Girl Scouting in Iran

The Girl Scout organization was known as Fereshtegan-e Pishahange Īrān, literally Angel Scouts of Iran. The Iranian Scouting Girl Scout Section is a former member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, last mentioned in 1979.

Girl Guiding may again be making inroads into Iran, as in 1993 a reception was held in Manila, Philippines in conjunction with WAGGGS' Asia Pacific Symposium of NGOs for Women in Development. The aim was to introduce or reintroduce the Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting movement and to explore possibilities of starting/restarting Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting in Iran, as well as Cambodia, Tibet, Russia, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Fifty women leaders from those nations attended the Asia Pacific Symposium, sharing their Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting experiences.

See also

External links and references

احيای مجدد سازمان پيش آهنگی در سال 1382 توسط پور مهر محسن زنجانی برای دريافت اطلاعات بيشتر به سايتهای زيرمراجعه فرمائيد

Facts on World Scouting, Boy Scouts International Bureau, Ottawa, Canada, 1961 Scouting 'Round the World, World Scout Bureau, Geneva, Switzerland, 1977

Members of the Arab Scout Region

Full members: Algeria | Bahrain | Egypt | Jordan | Kuwait | Lebanon | Libya | Mauritania | Morocco | Oman | Palestine | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Sudan | Tunisia | United Arab Emirates | Yemen
Potential members: Iran | Iraq | Syria