The Centre for Kurdish Studies benefits from the activities of several members of staff recognised as specialists in different disciplinary areas.
The Centre for Kurdish Studies benefits from Exeter’s large specialist library collections on the Middle East.
The Centre for Kurdish Studies was founded in 2006 following the growth of staff interest in Kurdish Studies and the recruitment of a diverse PhD student body. Although a research centre, teaching also a key element of the centre activities. More than 40 MA and PhD students are currently affiliated to the Centre.
Initial funding was provided by the Ibrahim Ahmad Foundation, a charity established by the family of the notable Kurdish politician and poet Ibrahim Ahmad to promote the study of Kurdish language, literature, culture and history. Thanks to this generous support, two Ibrahim Ahmad academic positions (one lectureship and one professorship) have been funded at the University of Exeter. The funding of these two positions has enabled the Centre to build strong foundations, including developing strong research, teaching activities and international networks.
This support to the Centre was augmented with important scholarship funds awarded by the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), HE Nechirvan Barzani.
Exeter is the only British university to have developed a strong research focus in the field of Kurdish Studies, with the two main Kurdish dialects being taught. As such, we are the leading centre of research in the field in the UK, and one of the global centres of excellence. The Centre has built cooperation with scholars worldwide and aims to develop further this current collaboration and to launch further research initiatives. With our programme of international conferences, workshops and seminars, we also provide a forum for the discussion of topics relevant to Kurdish Studies.
Our focus on Kurdish Studies places the Kurds at the centre of our research and teaching activities, and offers a chance to consider Kurdish society, culture and politics holistically in all its complexity and variation, across and within established nation-states and the global diaspora community.
As the Centre for Kurdish Studies is physically located in the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS) and is part of the College of Social Sciences and International Studies, the Centre staff and students contribute to this wider education and research environment. This interaction between students and staff from different areas and disciplines is highly valued as strengthening the academic foundations of Kurdish Studies. Indeed the Centre’s vision is that strong Kurdish Studies can only be built through dialogue with other areas, and with a strong grounding in different academic disciplines.