Universiteit Leiden

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Support for doctoral research on the history of Zoroastrianism

Last year, LUCSoR welcomed two new Ph.D. students from Iran: Kiyan Foroutan from Ahvaz and Amir Ardalan Emami from Tehran. Kiyan works on a project on the role of the family in medieval and early modern Zoroastrianism in India and Iran (15th-18th centuries). Ardalan works on a much earlier period, the time of the first Persian Empire, that of the Achaemenids (550-330 BCE). He uses insights from the Cognitive Science of Religion to explain the impact of the empire on the development of religion in the Iranian world. Both are here as self-funded Ph.D. students and both have been fortunate in recently having found partial financing for their projects.

Kiyan Foroutan has been awarded one of the highly coveted doctoral stipends from the Gerda Henkel Foundation, for the period of one year with the possibility of extension for another year. The Gerda Henkel Foundation also sponsors a research trip to India, making it possible to work on Zoroastrian manuscripts kept in the K.R. Cama Oriental Institute in Mumbai and the Meherji Rana Library in Navsari, the two largest collections of Zoroastrian manuscripts in the world. In addition to this, Kiyan has been awarded a Zartoshty Brothers Scholarship from the Zoroastrian Trustfunds of Europe, the oldest and most distinguished Zoroastrian organization in Europe, for a period of three years.

Ardalan Emami has received financial support from the Soudavar Memorial Foundation, the largest private sponsor of research on Iranian culture and history in the world, for the period of one year, with the possibility of further extension. These are clear signs of recognition of two promising young students of religion from Iran and the support given by these three organizations means very much to LUCSoR as an academic community.

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