Ancient wisdom: UCLA receives $11 million to establish Yarshater Center for the Study of Iranian Literary Traditions

Friends and Supporters

UCLA has received a commitment of $11 million from the Persian Heritage Foundation to establish the UCLA Yarshater Center for the Study of Iranian Literary Traditions, a research hub that aims to advance knowledge of ancient Iranian literature and culture worldwide.

The center was named for the late Ehsan Yarshater, the inaugural Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies at Columbia University, whose lifework has had a profound impact on the study of the Iranian world globally. Among the many original projects Yarshater initiated are the “Bibliotheca Persica,” a collection of pioneering publications foregrounding Iranian literary traditions; “A History of Persian Literature,” a projected 20-volume survey of Persian literature; and the “Encyclopaedia Iranica,” widely regarded as the most comprehensive and accessible reference work on the Iranian civilization.

Hosted in the UCLA College, home to the university’s program in Iranian studies as well as the Pourdavoud Center, the Yarshater Center will enrich the vast array of resources at UCLA devoted to the exploration of the Iranian world by initiating new research, publication series and programming for the benefit of students, scholars and engaged communities.

“We are deeply grateful for this transformative gift, which creates a home at UCLA for the study of one of humanity’s oldest literatures,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “The Yarshater Center will help our global university continue its important work of fostering cross-cultural understanding. And the center has special importance given our location in Westwood — the heart of Southern California’s vibrant Iranian American community.”

Read more on UCLA Newsroom here.