New graduate scholarships to help further understanding of Armenian heritage


Opening of the Gospel of Mark, written in Classical Armenian, by scribe and miniaturist Mesrop Xizanc‘i. Bodleian Libraries MS. Arm. d. 13, fol. 115r (New Julfa, Isfahan 1609)

A scholarship programme for graduate students pursuing a master’s degree in Classical Armenian Studies at Oxford has been established, following a substantial gift from the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) London Trust.

Oxford is the leading university for Armenian studies in the UK, where the subject has been pursued since the mid-nineteenth century. By providing support for one graduate student per year for five years, the new scholarship programme will play a key role in helping to foster greater understanding of Armenian culture and heritage. The first scholarship will be awarded in October 2021, with the programme running through to 2026.

Scholars studying for the MSt in Classical Armenian Studies gain experience in reading and interpreting a wide range of Armenian texts, thus enabling them to develop a critical understanding of the literary culture and historical background of their chosen period. During their time at Oxford, students will have access to the Bodleian Library’s unique collection of Armenian manuscripts, which includes a very rare copy of the first book printed in Iran: an Armenian Psalter from New Julfa.

The course is directed by Professor Theo Maarten van Lint, who holds the Calouste Gulbenkian Professorship of Armenian Studies. He says: ‘Funding is an indispensable element in offering worthy candidates access to the Masters in Classical Armenian Studies. Therefore I am extremely grateful to Joseph and Jenny Oughourlian and the AGBU for this generous and strategic donation.’ 

The creation of the AGBU London Trust Scholarship represents the next stage in an already fruitful partnership between Oxford and the organisation, which has, for the past seven years, provided financial support to Armenian students reading a range of subjects at the University. The new scholarship programme, which will be open to students from all over the world, aligns with the AGBU’s mission to uphold Armenian heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programmes.

Joseph Oughourlian, AGBU London Trust Chairman and Vice-President of the AGBU Central Board, said: ‘AGBU is absolutely honoured to partner with the prestigious global institution that is the University of Oxford. The University's Faculty of Oriental Studies has been thriving for years and as the world's largest Armenian organization, it is a logical development for AGBU to support the Faculty's MSt in Classical Armenian Studies. We deeply thank Professor van Lint and his team for allowing this cooperation to happen.’

More information about the MSt in Classical Armenian Studies is available here.