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In a video conference with UIC Director General Mr François Davenne on Monday 30 November, Mr Saeed Rasouli, Vice-Minister for Roads and Urban Development of Iran and President of Iranian Railways (RAI), presented and discussed the latest developments at Iranian Railways, particularly with regard to the creation of RAI’s Leadership Development Centre. Mr Rasouli explained in detail the various elements of the new centre, located at RAI headquarters, to Mr Davenne in a lively and engaging manner, supported by camera movement.

The RAI President explained that the centre had been established at the end of March 2020, just after the beginning of the Iranian Lunar New Year. Its purpose is to increase RAI’s productivity using its maximum capacity for the development of the rail industry and transport in the country, identifying the capabilities of rail talents and staff in respect of resolving RAI’s problems and issues, and expediting project execution. Noting UIC’s various working groups for issues relating to rail transport, Mr Rasouli announced that a similar model had been adopted for the centre with the establishment of working groups focusing on RAI’s priority issues. He explained that 30 key problems and issues had been identified and prioritised within RAI and 30 working groups had been established, composed of professional experts, managers, and even interested and skilled retired RAI personnel, as well as railway students and professors from railway faculties and from Iran’s top universities. Mr Rasouli outlined the working groups’ successful achievements and deliverables over the past few months and explained that the managers and experts had come together in this centre so as to be able to make decisions and act quickly, making distances shorter and avoiding any additional bureaucracy between different departments. Mr Rasouli has an office room at the centre and holds most of his meetings there.

Mr Rasouli also presented the centre’s library and archive section, which contains all of the books and documents collected by RAI since its establishment. All of them are to be published digitally on the related portal and web service, which will soon be available to the public. Mr Rasouli advised Mr Davenne that a report on activities and achievements was being prepared and that RAI would share it with UIC.

The RAI President also reported that RAI had been selected as one of the top three organisations in the country in terms of productivity by the National Productivity Organisation of Iran, and added that the RAI Leadership Development Centre had chosen “Iran, on rail, towards the future” as its motto.

In the final part of the online meeting, Mr Rasouli provided information on the centre’s special event, which is held every Tuesday and is called Rail Tuesdays with Technology. Due to the coronavirus outbreak and in order to observe social distancing, this event is broadcast online and on RAI’s Internet TV so that colleagues and staff can watch it across the country. The RAI President invited all enthusiasts, specialists, investors, knowledge enterprises and academics to participate in RAI’s rail technology events.

Commenting RAI’s achievements and initiative, Mr Davenne said that he was impressed by these activities and confirmed that UIC would offer support in sharing the centre’s reports and documents with UIC members and publishing them on the UIC website. He noted that this initiative could form a solid basis for greater communication with RAI, especially in the context of UIC RAME and organisation of events for the Middle East Region. Other UIC regions have organised innovative initiatives on specific issues. Mr Davenne said that under the leadership of Mr Mohamed Khlie, Chair of the African region, bimonthly webinars dedicated to UIC activities and projects are organised: the African Railway Thursdays. A comparable initiative could be envisaged for the RAME region.

Mr Davenne also referred to UIC’s Technical Solutions for Railways document, which is due to be published soon, and mentioned that this document could be useful for the RAI Leadership Development Centre.

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