Gift to Support Graduate Students in Near Eastern Studies

Lori Harwood
Aug. 29, 2003

The Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute has pledged $300,000 to the University of Arizona department of Near Eastern studies to create a graduate fellowship endowment for Persian and Iranian studies. The institute gave the UA $100,000 on Aug. 11, and the remainder will be paid over the next two years.

The University of Arizona Foundation will invest the gift, and the earnings will fund the fellowship in perpetuity. Each year, the endowment will provide financial assistance to at least one outstanding graduate student working toward a doctorate in Persian and Iranian studies.

Michael Bonine, head of the Near Eastern Studies department, said "Persian and Iranian studies is a particular strength of our department. This generous gift will further boost the prestige of our program by attracting top Ph.D. students."

Edward Donnerstein, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said "Our Near Eastern studies department is recognized as one of the best in the country. This endowment not only shows the strength of the department, but will help ensure that it remains a leader in its field."

The Near Eastern studies department focuses on the study of the languages, literature, culture, art, beliefs, religions and histories of the people of North Africa, Southwest Asia and Central Asia. Faculty members are researching such topics as Biblical archeology, national identity and gender, the history of Islam, the Arab-Israeli conflict, population and development issues, and the allocation of water resources. Faculty and student groups are also actively involved in this community and work closely with the UA Center for Middle Eastern Studies.