Cambridge University Reporter


Report of the General Board on the establishment of a His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Professorship of Modern Arabic Studies

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. Arabic is the living language of the Arabs and their culture and it is also central to the lives of Muslims across the world. As the lingua franca of the Muslim world, Arabic spread to Persia and India, where the script also shaped art and aesthetics in myriad ways. Historically, Arabic has helped fashion modern European thought. The Arabs developed an extensive and deep-rooted tradition of translating, and commenting upon, the philosophical, scientific, and medical texts of Classical Antiquity. Thanks to the Arabic translations, these texts then became the intellectual basis for the Renaissance.

2. Arabic has been taught in Cambridge since the early 17th century, and the subject is now expanding rapidly. Since 2001 the undergraduate intake for Arabic in the Faculty of Oriental Studies has doubled and currently there are more undergraduates studying this language than any other in the Faculty, reflecting the prominence of the Middle East and Islam in world affairs. Similarly, at postgraduate level, there is a growing pool of talented applicants from around the world for the M.Phil. and Ph.D. Degrees who wish to specialize in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Studies.

3. A welcome opportunity to further develop work in this area has now arisen as His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, Sultan of Oman, has generously agreed to donate to the University the sum of £2.8m to endow a proposed Professorship of Modern Arabic Studies. The new Professorship will provide academic leadership and strengthen scholarship in modern Arabic studies, while also bringing new expertise to a section of the University that covers a region of immense cultural significance and political moment. An additional sum of £300,000 will also be donated to Pembroke College to be used for the enrichment of Oriental Studies at the College. The Sultanate of Oman has a long tradition of scholarship and learning, and wishes to make a positive contribution to the development of Arabic studies in the modern world.

4. The Council of the School of Arts and Humanities and the Faculty Board of Oriental Studies have endorsed the proposal and have recommended that the new Professorship be established and assigned to the Faculty of Oriental Studies. The Faculty Board have confirmed that suitable accommodation is available for the new Professor in the Faculty.

5. The General Board are assured that the Professorship can be expected to attract an excellent field of candidates. The Board have agreed that election to the Professorship should be made by an ad hoc Board of Electors and that, on this first occasion, candidature be open without limitation or preference to all persons whose work falls within the title of the office.

6. The General Board recommend:

I. That a His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Professorship of Modern Arabic Studies be established in the University from 1 October 2006, placed in Schedule B of the Statutes, and assigned to the Faculty of Oriental Studies.

II. That regulations for a His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Fund, as set out in the Schedule to this Report, be approved.



His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Professorship of Modern Arabic Studies. 2006. Oriental Studies

1. The sum received from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said for the endowment of a Professorship of Modern Arabic Studies shall form a fund called the His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Fund.

2. If and whenever the income of the Fund shall exceed the amount required for the payment of the stipend, national insurance, pension contributions, and associated indirect costs of the Professor payable by the University, the excess of the income over that amount shall be applied to support the teaching of Arabic and Middle Eastern studies in such a manner as may be approved by the General Board on the recommendation of the Faculty Board of Oriental Studies.

3. Any unexpended income in a financial year may in any subsequent year be expended in accordance with Regulation 2.