Holding the Second Meeting on “Iranology in Poland”

Holding the Second Meeting on “Iranology in Poland”

The Second Meeting on “Iranology in Poland” was held on 20 November 2017 in the Iranology Foundation on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the arrival of Polish immigrants in Iran. The participants included Ghodratollah Alizadeh, Information and International Affairs Deputy of the Iranology Foundation; Pouran Tahuni, Head of the Higher Education Department of the Iranology Foundation; Reza Nikpour, President of the Polish-Iranian Friendship Association; Ali Shahidi, Head of the Iranology Department at the University of Tehran, and a number of professors of Iranology and Persian Language courses at Kraków, Warsaw, and Poznań universities.

The Polish professors attending this meeting were as follows:

• Anna Krasnowolska (PhD), Polish Iranologist and Assistant Professor at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Jagiellonian University, Kraków

• Renata Rusek-Kowalska (PhD), Assistant Professor at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Jagiellonian University, Kraków

• Mateusz Mikołaj Kłagisz (PhD), Professor of Iranian languages and expert in Pashto language at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Jagiellonian University, Kraków

• Stanisław Jaśkowski (PhD), expert in Iranian history, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Warsaw

At the beginning of this meeting, Dr. Alizadeh introduced the Iranology Foundation and its scientific activities. Then the attending Polish professors provided short accounts of their personal scientific activities and those of the universities in Poland regarding Iranian studies and the teaching of Persian.

Professor Krasnowolska has conducted some studies on Persian literature and Iranian culture, particularly on Shahnameh and Iranian epic and mythological literature. She has authored a book titled Iranian Folklore and Feasts in Polish, which is the product of a comparative study of Iranian and Slavic feasts. In her speech, she stated that the main purpose of Iranology professors is the transfer of the knowledge of Iranology to Poland through the translation of contemporary and classic Persian literature.

According to Professor Kłagisz, Iranology became an independent major at the University of Warsaw in 1970s, and presently 40-50 students are studying the related courses there. He mentioned that one of the characteristics of Iranology students in Poland is that, unlike those at other European universities, all of them are Polish, which is the reason why it is a priority to teach them Persian during the BA period.

One of the ongoing activities in the Iranology Department of the University of Warsaw is the publication of Safavid texts and documents in Polish. In his speech, Professor Kłagisz stated that he found the names of “Studies of Iranians” and “Familiarity with Iran” more appropriate than Iranology for this academic discipline. This is because the related instructional courses do not take the geography of Iran into consideration and mainly focus on discussing Iranian people and culture. Thus, at the end of such courses, Iranians are no strangers to Iranology graduates.

Following the speeches of the Polish professors, a number of the researchers at the Iranology Foundation introduced the ongoing projects at this academic center. In this regard, they referred to the compilation of the Iranology Encyclopedia, which focuses on Iranian culture, history, geography, archeology, etc. and the Encyclopedia of Iranian Sciences, which mainly deals with astronomy.

In his speech, Professor Shahidi introduced the Iranology major at the Iranology Foundation and emphasized that it is based on the most complete curriculum in this field. The related courses are offered at two MA and PhD levels in four branches. He also added that a number of best professors in Iran teach the offered courses and maintained that the Iranology Foundation is a good academic center for Polish university students.

In the same vein, Professor Tahuni provided some explanations regarding the quality of instruction at the Higher Education Department of the Iranology Foundation and stated that this organization is the forerunner and designer of this major in Iran. It is worth noting that this major was previously offered only outside the country with the related courses mainly focusing on teaching Persian. However, presently it is offered inside the country with due attention to providing a thorough knowledge of Iran regarding its history, culture, religion, customs and traditions, rituals, etc. Accordingly, a great variety is witnessed in the related lessons and topics of MA theses and PhD dissertations.

The outcomes of this meeting, in addition to increasing the familiarity of the two sides with each other’s academic activities, were the signing of a cooperation agreement between the University of Warsaw and the Iranology Foundation and proposing the idea of sisterhood between some Iranian and Polish cities.

Holding the Second Meeting on “Iranology in Poland”

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