ABOUT THE INSTITUTE
Professor Andrzej Kapiszewski (1947-2007) founded and created an academic institution dedicated to the study of the Middle and Far East. He became the first head of the Department of the Middle and Far East. Professor Kapiszewski was a mathematician, sociologist, and expert on the Middle East and North America. He also served as an ambassador to the Arab Emirates and Qatar. Previously studies on Asia at the Jagiellonian University were primarily limited to philological studies and research works by a few devoted scholars. Professor Adam Jelonek – a sociologist, academic teacher, and former ambassador to Malaysia and Brunei, succeeded Professor Kapiszewski as the head of the department. In 2009 the Department was finally transformed into the independent Institute of the Middle and Far East of the Jagiellonian University. The Institute currently employs more than fifty scholars and oriental language teachers. In the course of its activity, the Institute was headed by Professor Leszek Karpowicz, Reverend Professor Krzysztof Kościelniak, and again by Professor Adam Jelonek. The current head of the Institute is Dr. Łukasz Fyderek.
The Institute has expanded under the leadership of successive directors and the entire staff. New areas of study have been added to the curriculum, attracting students interested in the world and providing them with specialized knowledge of modern Asia. Studies that were initially conducted in only one room now have found a new home in the modern building of Collegium Asiaticum, located next to the Jagiellonian Library and the National Museum of Cracow.
Scholars working at the Institute are proficient in a variety of oriental languages, including: Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Hebrew and Turkish. They conduct interdisciplinary research on strategic issues related to Asian societies and their cultures, drawing from various fields such as social sciences and humanities, political science, cultural and religious studies, international relations, sociology, security studies, history, and philology. The Institute brings together distinguished theoreticians and practitioners who have extensive personal experience in their respective fields. Their academic work results in monographs, studies, expert opinions, and commentaries that shape public perception of events and phenomena taking place in the Middle and Far East.
STUDIES AT THE INSTITUTE OF THE MIDDLE AND FAR EAST
The Institute’s motto is “We teach to understand Asia and Africa”. Our mission is to acquire and transmit knowledge about the modern societies of these two continents. In an increasingly interdependent world, there is a need for specialists who understand the cultures and languages of the social groups inhabiting the two vast continents neighboring Europe. These specialists must be able to comprehend the context of the political and economic processes taking place in Asia and Africa.
The Institute’s curriculum covers a wide range of issues, such as conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, the cultural context of Islam, urbanization and migration, rival powers in the Far East, and popular culture in Japan and South Korea.
The Institute of the Middle and Far East offers seven fields of studies: five undergraduate programs (bachelor’s degree) and two master’s programs. The undergraduate programs include Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies, African Studies, and Middle East Studies. The master’s programs include Strategic Studies on Asia, and Korean Studies conducted in English. The Institute’s community comprises more than 350 students, with around 100 students graduating annually with bachelor’s and master’s degree.
B.A. studies are primarily vocational – they prepare students for a successful start in the labor market. Despite their interdisciplinary character they focus on narrow specializations, allowing students to obtain comprehensive knowledge about the region of their interest. Each year students are required to complete a minimum of 180 hours of the oriental language course (some of which are conducted by native speakers). The program focuses on the practical application of languages as a means of communication and analysis of current issues in Asian and African societies. Students pursuing master’s program continue to study the Oriental language to achieve linguistic proficiency after five years of study. Master’s degree programs prioritize developing of analytical skills and expanding the social science methods used by students. After graduation, some of our alumni choose to pursue a third-degree program at one of the doctoral schools of the Jagiellonian University.
In addition to language training, we prioritize the development of analytical skills. Therefore, a significant portion of the curriculum is dedicated to courses on the history, politics, and culture of Middle and Far Eastern societies. Students gain knowledge of facts and different cultural contexts, as well as social science methods that are useful for conducting practical analyses of political and cultural phenomena.
The Institute of the Middle and Far East at the Jagiellonian University places great importance on direct contact with the countries of interest. This is achieved through regularly organized summer schools and scholarships programs to partner universities in Asia and the Middle East. Scholarship trips are an integral part of the curriculum for master’s degree programs. Additionally, the Institute’s students pursue their interests through participation in students scientific associations, such as the Far Eastern Students Association and African-Middle Eastern Students Association.
The Administration Office of the Institute of the Middle and Far East handles formal study-related issues. The office team is regularly recognized for its supportive approach to student affairs. Pursuing Asian and African studies at the Institute provides an opportunity to learn about issues of strategic importance to the modern world, and to immerse oneself in fascinating cultures. Join the Institute community today.